Release Date: Sep 15, 2009
Record label: Samadhi Sound
Genre(s): Rock, Experimental
Like much of David Sylvian's 21st-century work, Manafon is a forbidding proposition. Entrenched in the improvisational avant garde, it offers nothing in the way of conventional rhythm and few demonstrable melodies. Adopt a suitably furrowed brow, however, and the album becomes mesmerising. Sylvian's subjects are life's loners and losers, and he regards them with a wry detachment and acute sympathy that is echoed by his collaborators.
David Sylvian's enjoyed a career common to art-rock-leaning, former English pop stars who've doggedly chased their personal obsessions in lieu of giving their old fanbase what they want, again and again. He's not quite as intractable as, say, old peer Mark Hollis (Talk Talk). For one thing, Sylvian's still releasing records. But from the time Japan ditched the crowd-pleasing glam sheen onward, Sylvian's music has forced his cult to reexamine their ongoing relationship with the master's music every few years.
Think Scott Walker punching a side of beef, and know that here's another who's wandered off the path of teen pop success to find a world that's far more interesting (if far from easy listening)..