Category Archives: David Sylvian

Jean The Birdman


01 Jean The Birdman
02 Gone To Earth
03 Tallow Moon
04 Darkwater
05 Earthbound
06 Endgame

INFO > “Jean The Birdman” was the first of two singles released from David Sylvian and Robert Fripp’s 1993 album, “The First Day.” The 2CD set features a wealth of exceptional and exclusive B-sides, including the title track from Sylvian’s 1986 LP, “Gone To Earth.”

Assembling Ghosts


01 Gentlemen Take Polaroids (7″ Edit) 03:29
02 The Art Of Parties (7″ Version) 03:51
03 Quiet Life (7″ Edit) 03:37
04 Visions Of China 03:41
05 European Son (Remix) 03:49
06 Ghosts (Single Version) 03:59
07 Cantonese Boy 03:49
08 I Second That Emotion (Remix) 03:54
09 Life In Tokyo (Remix) 04:02
10 Nightporter (Single Version) 05:04
11 All Tomorrow’s Parties (Remix) 03:34
12 Canton (Live) 05:30

INFO > Many longtime Japan fans were disappointed with the 2006 release of “The Very Best Of Japan.” On a positive note, the compilation was the first to feature singles from both of the band’s labels, Hansa and Virgin. But an early promise for the inclusion of hard-to-find edits was ultimately unfulfilled. Presented here is my attempt to rectify that failure.

While my beef with “The Very Best Of Japan” dates back seven years, this project has been on my to-do list for far longer. As a teenager in the mid-1980s, Japan expanded my listening habits beyond conventional pop, and forever changed my appreciation for music as art. For that, I have John Taylor and Nick Rhodes to thank—the Duran Duran founders listed “Tin Drum” among their favorite albums, circa 1984. I logically deduced that if I liked DD, and they liked “Tin Drum”, then I too would appreciate Japan. Amusingly, after seeing a photo of the band in an early edition of The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Rock, I assumed Japan to be Duran Duran imitators—I would later discover the reverse to be the case.

Transposed from the Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles, the list below formed the blueprint for “Assembling Ghosts”:

Release date > High chart position > Single

1980-10-18 > UK Singles No. 60 > “Gentlemen Take Polaroids”
1981-05-09 > UK Singles No. 48 > “The Art Of Parties”
1981-09-19 > UK Singles No. 19 > “Quiet Life”
1981-11-07 > UK Singles No. 32 > “Visions Of China”
1982-01-23 > UK Singles No. 31 > “European Son”
1982-03-20 > UK Singles No. 05 > “Ghosts”
1982-05-22 > UK Singles No. 24 > “Cantonese Boy”
1982-07-03 > UK Singles No. 09 > “I Second That Emotion”
1982-10-09 > UK Singles No. 28 > “Life In Tokyo”
1982-11-20 > UK Singles No. 29 > “Nightporter”
1983-03-12 > UK Singles No. 38 > “All Tomorrow’s Parties”
1983-05-21 > UK Singles No. 42 > “Canton” (Live)

I took one liberty in my tracklistings, replacing the ‘Special Remix’ of “Life In Tokyo” that charted in 1982 with a less common remix from the 1989 collection, “Souvenir From Japan.”

PW: Dachshund

David Sylvian – The Scent Of Magnolia

David Sylvian
“The Scent Of Magnolia”
2000 Virgin Records Ltd (UK)

01. The Scent Of Magnolia (Edit)
02. The Blinding Light Of Heaven
03. The Scent Of Magnolia (Portobello Mix)
04. Brilliant Trees (Version 2000)

INFO > This may have been intended as a proper single to promote Sylvian’s “Everything And Nothing” retrospective, but was ultimately appended to a limited edition issue of the compilation.

The Scent Of Magnolia

Ashtrax – Kafka (UK Promo)

1998 Deviant Records (UK)

01. Kafka 10:28
02. Kafka (Danny Howells’ Squelch Mix) 10:28
03. Kafkamerika 09:23
04. Kafka (Metamorphomix) 09:29

INFO > “Kafka” was the first single produced by Ashley Casselle and James Christopher collaborating as Ashtrax. This CDR compiles all four mixes of the progressive breaks epic as featured on the two Deviant 12″ singles. Keen ears will note that “Kafka” includes a prominent but uncredited sample of “Answered Prayers” by David Sylvian.

pw: djshelf

David Sylvian – GodMan


David Sylvian
1999 Venture/Virgin Records Ltd (UK)

01. GodMan (Album Version)
02. Shadowland
03. GodMan (Wagon Christ Mix)
04. Shadowland (Northfield)
05. GodMan (Guy Sigsworth Remix)

INFO > Today sees the release of “A Victim Of Stars”, a career-spanning retrospective of David Sylvian’s post-Japan solo work. The chronologically arranged collection includes material from Sylvian’s years with Virgin, as well as more recent releases from his Samadhisound imprint. Though far from comprehensive, the compilation does include most of Sylvian’s singles. Here’s one that didn’t make the cut: 1999’s “GodMan” EP features remixes by Luke Vibert and Guy Sigsworth, as well as an illuminating short film, “Time Spent”, made by Sylvian and his then-wife, Ingrid Chavez.

TIME SPENT (QuickTime)

Japan – Life In Tokyo


“Life In Tokyo”
1979 Ariola Hansa Records / 1982 Hansa Records (UK)
AHA 540 / HANSA 17

01. Life In Tokyo (Short Version) 03:30
02. Life In Tokyo (Part 2) 03:17
03. Life In Tokyo (Long Version) 07:08
04. Life In Tokyo (Special Remix) 04:03
05. Life In Tokyo (Theme) 03:55
06. Life In Tokyo (Extended Remix) 07:05
07. Life In Tokyo (‘Assemblage’ Remix) 06:15
08. Life In Tokyo (‘Souvenir’ Remix) 04:01

INFO > Released in 1979, “Life In Tokyo” marked a dramatic turning point in Japan’s career. Produced by Giorgio Moroder, the song’s Eurodisco style began the London quintet’s evolution from glam rockers into New Romantics. Although the original single and a subsequent 1981 reissue failed to chart, a remixed version of “Life In Tokyo” finally broke the UK Top 40 in 1982.

Life In Tokyo

David Sylvian and Robert Fripp – Darshan

David Sylvian and Robert Fripp
1993 Virgin Records Ltd (UK)

01. Darshan (Translucent Remix By The Grid)
02. Darshana (Re-constructed by The Future Sound Of London)
03. Darshan (The Road To Graceland)
04. Darshan (The Road To Graceland – Edit)*

*Bonus track, from US promo CD DPRO-14125

INFO > Prog rock meets prog house on this single from Sylvian and Fripp’s 1993 studio collaboration, “The First Day.” Virgin enlisted The Grid and FSOL to rework the album’s epic 17-minute jam, “Darshan.” Norris and Ball minimize Fripp’s searing guitar, play up the electronics, and smooth out the original track’s shuffling beat; while Dougans and Cobain earned writing credits for their atmospheric dub excursion.


David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto – Forbidden Colours

In the wake of a massive earthquake, a major tsunami, and nuclear reactor breaches, the country of Japan is contending with a crisis of unparalleled proportions. The devastating effects of these catastrophes have taken a tremendous toll on Japan’s people, animals, and cities. The estimated death toll is already staggering, and now the threat of widespread radioactive contamination is imminently looming. Japan will need a tremendous amount of relief assistance to recover and rebuild; with the world’s help, the sun will again rise over that great land. Somewhat fittingly, today’s post is a solemn ballad created by collaboration between artists from East and West.

David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto
“Forbidden Colours”
1991 Virgin Records (JP)

01. Forbidden Colours
02. Bamboo Houses
03. Bamboo Music
04. Forbidden Colours (Version II)

1, 4 > 1983 National Trustee Film Company Ltd/Virgin Records Ltd
2, 3 > 1982 Virgin Records Ltd

INFO > Sylvian and Sakamoto first worked together in 1980, producing a track for Japan’s fourth album, “Gentlemen Take Polaroids.” Two years later, the duo released the Eastern-tinged single “Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music.” In 1983, Sakamoto scored and starred in “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” an intriguing character study set in a Japanese POW camp during World War II. Sylvian’s lyrics beautifully accompany Sakamoto’s haunting main theme, which has become a signature piece for the award-winning Japanese composer.