Selected by Dan
Both as a singer with the romantic group Japan, and as a frequent
collaborator with Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Sylvian has always had a thing for this country.
And with the affection mutual, Sylvian can expect a devoted audience in his two upcoming
shows at the venerable Nakano Sun Plaza.
Hailing from Kent, England, Sylvian first came to notice as the enigmatic voice and
personality of Japan, a group which still commands a cult following two decades after its
demise. After Japan broke up in 1982, Sylvian recorded with Sakamoto, with whom he had
already collaborated on the Japan track, "Gentlemen Take Polaroids." The pair'
song, "Bamboo House," reached number 30 in the UK, and the collaboration
continued with "Forbidden Colours," recorded for the soundtrack to the film Merry
Christmas, Mr Lawrence.
Sylvian's best stab at the charts happened in 1984, when the widely acclaimed album Brilliant
Trees reached the UK top 5. But he soon gained a reputation as a difficult and
demanding artist, and has preferred to remain on the experimental fringes of pop, where he
continues to work with an elite crew of session musicians, culled especially from the New
York downtown scene after his move there in the '90s.
After a long hiatus, Sylvian reappeared on the scene in 1999 with his much overdue solo
album, Dead Bees on a Cake. The album featured contributions from, in addition to
Sakamoto, guitarists Bill Frissell and Marc Ribot, and British Indian drum'n'bass star
Talvin Singh on tabla.
Last year, a double album of previously unreleased tracks and "best of"
selections, Everything and Nothing, provided an impressive retrospective on a
Sylvian plays Nakano Sun Plaza on September 20-21. See listings for details.