Review Revue: David Sylvian - Gone to Earth

David Sylvian originally became known to the world as the lead singer of ’70s/’80s new wave band Japan. Like many pop stars, before too long he wearied of making “fun,” “popular” music and, under his own name, started releasing much more “serious” work, collaborating with such musical luminaries as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, and Robert Fripp. Work which, at least based on this unbiased sampling of KCMU DJ responses, was pretty darn divisive. Brilliance or wankery? Genious or genius? Or a little of each? You decide!

On a serious note, Sylvian was supposed to be touring Europe right now, but had to cancel due to ill health. Best wishes for his speedy recovery.


“This is an extraordinarily varied & truly moody album. I think this is a magnificent treasure of a package. Lotsa textures, very ‘jazzy’... 1/2 instrumental. The next ‘genius.’”

“Struck me as a sit at home and listen to the whole thing LP. Very mellow stuff.”

“Well, Damon, I sat down to the whole thing. I found sides 1 & 2 to be utterly nap-inspiring. Not the stuff of genious. [sic] Sides 3 & 4 sound as if they are a totally different project. Some of the tracks are co-written by others. They are vastly superior to the first two sides. He should be thankful for the presence of [Robert] Fripp and [Bill] Nelson who save this thing. Would have made a great single LP, as it is, I yell ‘self-indulgence.’”

“Quite a change from his early glam-rock days with Japan. Nice stuff.”

“What is this? ‘Mellow stuff.’ ‘Nice stuff.’ I’m forming a club to annihilate the word ‘stuff’ from the English language. And Dave, there’s no ‘o’ in ‘genius.’ By the way, I like this.”

“Hello, my name is Tim. I’ve never been a fan of David Sylvian; I’m not crazy about his voices. It sounds like Simon LeBon singing with some kind of vocal affectation. Yuck.”

“All the songs sound the same. Take your pick.”

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