Sylvian,David - Camphor
Notes / Reviews

Camphor is a David Sylvian compilation album released in 2002 as a companion to Everything and Nothing. The focus is on his instrumental work. The album, nonetheless, has two previously unreleased tracks: "The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection" and "Camphor".

"Answered Prayers" is played in a different key; "Wave" has been cut to the last segment of the original song, so that the vocal parts have been deleted, and it has been orchestrated. In "Mother and Child", the vocal parts have been replaced by the trumpet. "Upon This Earth" is shorter and re-recorded. "The Healing Place" is slightly shorter and played in a different key.

It was released in two versions. A standard single disc jewel case (CDVE 962) and as a limited edition 2CD digipak (CDVEX 962).


Exclusively about the unreleased or re-recorded tracks.

*"Answered Prayers": Bill Nelson (acoustic guitar), David Sylvian (guitar, voice).

*"The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection": Shree Maa (composer, tambura), David Sylvian (vocals, electric piano, guitar, bass, arrangement).

*"Wave (Version)" Steve Jansen (drums), Robert Fripp (guitar), Simon Jeffes (orchestration), David Sylvian (Hammond, synth, bass, remixing).

*"Mother and Child": David Torn (acoustic guitar), Danny Thompson (double bass), Danny Cummings (percussion), Ryuichi Sakamoto (piano, Hammond), Erik Honoré (remixing, sampler), Jan Bang (remixing, sampler, synth), Nils Petter Molvær (trumpet, effects).

*"Plight (The Spiralling of Winter Ghosts) Detail": Holger Czukay (electronics, organ, piano, orchestra, effects), David Sylvian (harmonium, guitar, synth, remixing).

*"Upon This Earth": Robert Fripp (guitar), David Sylvian (guitar, piano, synth, remixing).

*"The Healing Place": Bill Nelson (guitar solo), David Sylvian (guitar, synth).

*"Camphor": David Sylvian (all instruments).

Additional personnel

*Kevin Westenberg - photography

*Russell Mills - design

*Michael Webster - assistant designer

Category:2002 compilation albums

Category:David Sylvian compilation albums

This text has been derived from Camphor (album) on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

Artist/Band Information

David Sylvian (born David Alan Batt, 23 February 1958, Beckenham, Kent) is an English singer-songwriter and musician. He came to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead vocalist and main songwriter in the group Japan. His subsequent solo work is described by critic Jason Ankeny as "a far-ranging and esoteric career that encompassed not only solo projects but also a series of fascinating collaborative efforts." Sylvian's solo work has been influenced by a variety of musical styles and genres, including jazz, avant-garde, ambient, electronic, and progressive rock.


Early years

Sylvian was born the son of a plasterer and a housewife. He was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London leaving at 16. As a youth, he listened to glam rock artists such as David Bowie and Roxy Music.

1970s-Early 1980s: Japan

Japan band.jpgthumb220pxrightJapan in Toronto, 24 November 1979

The band Japan, whose other members included bassist Mick Karn, guitarist Rob Dean, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvian's brother Steve Jansen as drummer, began as a group of friends. As youngsters they played music as a means of escape, playing Sylvian's two-chord numbers – sometimes with Karn as the front man, sometimes with Sylvian at the fore.

They christened themselves Japan in 1974, signed a recording contract with Hansa, and became an alternative glam rock outfit in the mould of David Bowie, T.Rex, and The New York Dolls. Over a period of a few years their music became more sophisticated, drawing initially on the art rock stylings of Roxy Music. Their visual image also evolved and the band was tagged with the New Romantic label. Indeed, it could be argued that Japan was at the forefront of the entire New Romantic movement, even though the band never associated itself with it. Noting their distinction from the New Romantics, Sylvian stated: "I don't like to be associated with them. The attitudes are so very different." Of Japan's fashion sense, Sylvian said: "For them , fancy dress is a costume. But ours is a way of life. We look and dress this way every day."

Japan recorded five studio albums between March 1978 and November 1981. In 1980, the band signed with Virgin Records, where Sylvian remained as a recording artist for the next twenty years.

The band suffered from personal and creative clashes, particularly between Sylvian and Karn, with tensions springing from Sylvian's relationship with Yuka Fujii, a photographer, artist and designer, and Karn's former girlfriend. Fujii quickly became an influential figure in Sylvian's life. She was the first person to introduce Sylvian seriously to jazz, which in turn inspired him to follow musical avenues not otherwise open to him. She also encouraged Sylvian to incorporate spiritual discipline into his daily routine. Throughout his solo career, Fujii maintained a large role in the design of artwork for his albums.

1980s–1990s: Solo career

In 1982, Sylvian released his first collaborative effort with Ryuichi Sakamoto, entitled "Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music". He also worked with Sakamoto on the UK Top 20 song "Forbidden Colours" for the 1983 Nagisa Oshima film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

Sylvian's debut solo album, Brilliant Trees (1984), met with critical acclaim. The album included contributions from Ryuichi Sakamoto, trumpeter Jon Hassell, and former Can bassist Holger Czukay. It featured the UK Top 20 single Red Guitar.

In 1985, Sylvian released an instrumental mini-album Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities, in collaboration with Jansen, Hassell and Czukay, a recording that, when re-released in 2003, included the addition of Sylvian's Steel Cathedrals, the soundtrack to his video release of the same name.

The next release was the ambitious two-record set Gone to Earth (1986), which further flouted conventional and commercial wisdom by featuring one record of atmospheric vocal tracks and a second record consisting of ambient instrumentals. The album contained significant contributions from noted guitarists Bill Nelson of Be-Bop Deluxe and Robert Fripp of King Crimson.

Secrets of the Beehive (1987) made greater use of acoustic instruments and was musically oriented towards sombre, emotive ballads laced with shimmering string arrangements by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Brian Gascoigne. The album yielded one of Sylvian's most well-received songs, "Orpheus," and was later supported by his first solo tour, 1988's 'In Praise of Shamans.'

Never one to conform to commercial expectations, Sylvian then collaborated with Holger Czukay. Plight and Premonition, issued in 1988, and Flux and Mutability, recorded and released the following year, also included contributions from Can members Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli.

Virgin decided to close out the 1980s with the release of Weatherbox, an elaborate boxed-set compilation consisting of Sylvian's four previous solo albums.

In 1990, Sylvian collaborated with artists Russell Mills and Ian Walton on the elaborate multi-media installation using sculpture, sound and light titled Ember Glance – The Permanence of Memory. The exhibition was staged at the temporary museum 'Space FGO-Soko' on Tokyo Bay, Shinagawa, Tokyo.

1990s: Rain Tree Crow

Also in 1990, Sylvian reunited with the former members of Japan for a new project. Unlike their past work, Sylvian decided to use methods of improvisation like those he explored in his work with Czukay.

Ingrid Chavez, an artist signed to Prince's Paisley Park Records, sent Sylvian a copy of her first album. He liked what he heard and thought her voice would fit well with some material that both Ryuichi Sakamoto and he were working on for a new Sakamoto release. Chavez and Sylvian quickly developed a bond and decided to travel together throughout the UK and the USA, where they eventually settled after marrying in 1992.

1993: With Robert Fripp

In the early 1990s, guitarist Robert Fripp invited Sylvian to join a new version of progressive rock stalwarts King Crimson. Sylvian declined the invitation, but he and Fripp recorded the album The First Day released in July 1993. Something of a departure for Sylvian, the album

melded Sylvian's philosophical lyrics to funk workouts and aggressive rock stylings very much in the mould of Fripp's King Crimson. To capitalize on the album's success, the musicians went back out on the road in the autumn of 1993. A live recording, called Damage and released in 1994, was culled from the final shows of the tour.

Sylvian and Fripp's final collaboration was the installation Redemption – Approaching Silence. The exhibition was held at the P3 Art and Environment centre in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and ran from 30 August to 18 September 1994. The accompanying music was composed by Sylvian, with text written and recited by Fripp.

In the late summer of 1995, Sylvian undertook a one-man solo tour which he called 'Slow Fire – A Personal Retrospective.'

A period of relative musical inactivity followed, during which Sylvian and Ingrid Chavez moved from Minnesota to the Napa Valley. Chavez had given birth to two daughters, Ameera-Daya (born 1993) and Isobel (born 1997), and pursued her interest in photography and music.

2000s: Recent work

In 1999, Sylvian released Dead Bees on a Cake, his first solo album proper since Secrets of the Beehive twelve years earlier. The disc gathered together the most eclectic influences of all his recordings, ranging from soul music to jazz fusion to blues to Eastern-inflected spiritual chants, and most of the songs' lyrics reflected the now 41-year-old Sylvian's inner peace resulting from his marriage, family, and beliefs. Guest musicians included long-time friend Ryuichi Sakamoto, classically-trained tabla player Talvin Singh, avant-garde guitarist Marc Ribot, jazz trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, and contemporary jazz guitarist Bill Frisell.

Following Dead Bees, Sylvian released a pair of compilation albums through Virgin, a two-disc retrospective, Everything and Nothing, and an instrumental collection, Camphor. Both albums contained previously released material, some remixes, and several new or previously unreleased tracks which Sylvian finished especially for the projects.

Sylvian parted ways with Virgin and launched his own independent label, Samadhi Sound. He released the album Blemish. A fusion of styles, including jazz and electronica, the tour enabled Sylvian to perform music from the Nine Horses project, as well as various selections from his back catalogue.

A new solo album entitled Manafon was released on 14 September 2009 in two editions – a regular CD/digipak edition and a twin boxset deluxe edition with two books that include the CD and a DVD featuring the film 'Amplified Gesture'. Manafon features contributions from leading figures in electroacoustic improvisation such as saxophonist Evan Parker, multi-instrumentalist Otomo Yoshihide, Christian Fennesz, Sachiko M and AMM alumnists guitarist Keith Rowe, percussionist Eddie Prévost and pianist John Tilbury.



* (March 1978) Adolescent Sex

* (October 1978) Obscure Alternatives

* (December 1979) Quiet Life

* (November 1980) Gentlemen Take Polaroids

* (September 1981) Assemblage – compilation

* (November 1981) Tin Drum

* (June 1983) Oil On Canvas – live album

* (July 1984) Exorcising Ghosts – compilation

* (April 1991) Rain Tree Crow – same line-up as Japan

* (March 2006) The Very Best of Japan – compilation

Solo & Collaborations

* (1984) Brilliant Trees

* (1985) Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities

* (1986) Gone to Earth

* (1987) Secrets of the Beehive

* (1988) Plight & Premonition

* (1989) Flux and Mutability

* (1989) Weatherbox – Limited edition 5CD box set

* (1991) Rain Tree Crow

* (1991) Ember Glance : The Permanence Of Memory

* (1993) The First Day

* (1993) Darshan (The Road To Graceland)

* (1994) Damage: Live

* (1999) Dead Bees on a Cake

* (1999) Approaching Silence

* (2000) Everything and Nothing

* (2002) Camphor

* (2003) Blemish

* (2003) World Citizen

* (2005) The Good Son vs. The Only Daughter (The Blemish Remixes)

* (2005) Snow Borne Sorrow by Nine Horses

* (2007) Money for All by Nine Horses

* (2007) When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima

* (2009) Manafon

* (2010) Sleepwalkers (remix compilation CD)


This text has been derived from David Sylvian on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0

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