Manafonistas

on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2023 11 Okt

Do you know me now?

von: Uli Koch Filed under: Blog | TB | Tags:  27 Comments

And if you think you knew me then
You don’t know me now …

 

 

Als Blemish 2003 erschien war ich völlig unzureichend darauf vorbereitet, was mich erwarten würde. Verzerrte Sounds, eine weitgehende Dekonstruktion denkbarer Songstrukturen, ein Auseinanderfallen vertrauter musikalischer Muster nur noch durch die Stimme David Sylvians zusammengehalten. Ein Befreiungsschlag und Signatur des Schmerzes einer Trennung in einem, eine zaghafte Suche einen nicht mehr durch die Vorgaben der Musikindustrie geprägten Klangraum zu finden, ein sperriges und verstörendes Werk, zu dem ich erst langsam Zugang fand und es inzwischen wirklich immer wieder gerne höre. Jetzt sind alle 10 Alben, die David Sylvian zwischen 2003 und 2014 auf seinem eigenen Label Samadhisounds veröffentlicht hat in einer Box mit neuer Gestaltung und einem umfangreichen Begleittext wiederveröffentlicht worden: Do You Know Me Now?

 

 

 

 

    1. Blemish (****)
    2. The Good Son vs. the Only Daughter (Blemish Remixes) (***)
    3. Snow Bone Sorrow (Nine Horses) (*****)
    4. Do you know me now? (Sakamoto/Nine Horses/Solo) (****)
    5. When loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima (*)
    6. Manafon (*****)
    7. Died in the Wool (*****)
    8. When We Return You Won’t Recognize Us (***)
    9. Uncommon Deities (w. Jan Bang/Erik Honoré) (**)
    10. There’s A Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight (Sylvian/Fennesz/Wright) (**)

 

 

Die Veröffentlichung von Manafon war ja nun konstituierend für unseren Blog und nicht zuletzt der Namensgeber. Über die Zusammenführung von verschiedensten Sessionfragmenten, die jede bisherige Hörgewohnheit (selbst wenn man sie an Scott Walker geschult hat) in einen permanenten Orientierungsmodus kippte und etwas konsequent Neues schuf, das dennoch auf befremdliche Weise, wenn man sich mal darauf eingelassen hat, sich als ausgesprochen hörbar erwies, schuf Sylvian einen Meilenstein im Songwriting. Wahrscheinlich ist kein Album hier häufiger aus den verschiedensten Blickwinkeln betrachtet und gewürdigt worden, ist oft wieder- und umbewertet worden, übermäßig gehört, überhört oder nach Probehören abgelehnt worden oder durch die Perspektive der weiteren musikalischen Entwicklung Sylvians neu eingeordnet worden. Dem kann ich kaum einen neuen Blickwinkel hinzufügen. Leider brach das kreative Schaffen David Sylvians nach Died In The Wool – Manafon Variations deutlich ein, man hörte immer weniger Eigenes, noch ein paar kleinere Kooperationen von ihm und dann, seit 2014: Schweigen. Zugegeben wüsste ich auch nicht, wohin es nach einem Album wie Manafon musikalisch weitergehen könnte, aber es bleibt mir ein leises Warten.

Seit meiner Pubertät waren zuerst Japan und dann die vielen Soloalben, auch seiner Japan-Bandkollegen, wichtiger emotionaler Bestandteil meiner Musiksozialisation. Sylvian war bei mir immer synchron, seine musikalischen Aussagen, auch wenn sie fremder und eigenwilliger wurden, fühlten sich relevant an, bedeuteten mir etwas. Ausser den ganz alten Alben von Japan, sagen wir ab Quiet Life höre ich sie auch immer wieder, teils durchaus mit nicht zu verleugnender Melancholie, die dieser Musik ja auch immanent ist, irgendwo präsent ist, selbst bei den Kooperationen mit Robert Fripp und auf Dead Bees On A Cake. Auch die Ambientalben mit Holger Czukay und die frühen Soloinstallationen sind wundervolle Einladungen eine Stille zwischen den Tönen neu zu erkunden. Nun ist der Teil, in dem David Sylvian die größte Schaffensfreiheit hatte, wieder als Ganzes verfügbar, auch wenn das Label Samadhisound inzwischen Geschichte ist.

 

 

“Although I personally maintain samadhisound is the home of my best work it was produced during a very turbulent period that precipitated some devastating changes in my life. I can’t gloss over this fact as it’s incorporated into, and informs the material in many ways. Maybe that’s why, after all this time, outside of any possible musical innovation, it remains so important to me.”

 

… And if you think you knew me then
You don’t know me now

I was happy, satiated
I was satisfied

 

But I still don’t know you …

This entry was posted on Mittwoch, 11. Oktober 2023 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

27 Comments

  1. Michael:

    Das Album UNCOMMON DEITIES bekommt von mit vier Sterne. Jeder hört halt anders. Die beiden Schriftsteller Paal-Helge Haugen und Nils Chr. Moe-Repstad verfassten seinerzeit eine Reihe von Texten, in denen es um abwesende Götter ging, und ihren Blues.

    Im ersten Set einer Klanginstallation in Kristiansand, die sieses Album präsentierte, mischte sich die warme dunkle Stimme von Haugen mit Klanggespinsten von Arve Henriksen, Evan Parker, und ausgewählten Passagen einer Komposition von David Sylvian.

    Es war sehr angenehm, der Märchenerzählerstimme des Norwegers zu folgen. Später dann, im zweiten Teil, strömten einige Stories über die unglücklichen Götter aus den Lautsprechern, mit dem dunklen Samt von Sylvians Sprechstimme. Sidsel Endresen trat ans Mikrofon, John Tilbury saß am Klavier. Das Album „Uncommon Deities“ ist in meinen Ohren eine wunderbare Synthese von Musik und spoken word.

    In other words:

    The poems by two Norwegian lyricists are sensual explorations and mythical fantasies about the lifes of absent gods. A journey that might even please hard core atheists. A shangrila for agnostics, open ears, lyric lovers and other strangers. Sidsel Endresen is the singer here, not the the speaker. She nearly never sings conventional language. But The listener can detect more torch and passion in her performance than in any well-mannered, recycled love song. #
    The landscape created by the musicians adds to the lyrics another layer, inspires an intimate approach to the verses. The voice of Sylvian in the center, calm, focussed, within these stories about twilight worlds, power, well, the loss of power, and alienation. And it is a voice that knows when to leave the stage for the spirits around him.

    The album was released in 2012. on the early September days 2011 all came into being, on stage. Great Punkt memory.

     Do you still remember it well, Mr. Bang?! 😉

  2. Mr. B:

    Hi Michael,

    first I have to admit it that I do miss your writing in this blog which I now only visit occasionally (it used to be a daily practice). Your memory serves you well. Erik and I worked in postproduction with the material from the concert where David was standing together with engineer Arnaud Mercier, hidden from the audience. Sidsel´s vocal performance during the concert was just so beautifully executed and totally arresting.

  3. Uli Koch:

    Ich fand den Ansatz von Uncommon Deieties auch faszinierend, bin aber mit dem Album auch nach mehreren Anläufen nie richtig warm geworden. Wenn ich diese großartige Performance gesehen hätte, würde ich dass gewiß auch anders sehen und höher bewerten. Werde dem Album aber nochmal eine Chance geben und mich ganz in Stille darauf einlassen…

  4. Mr. B:

    the following article came today:

    https://sylvianvista.com/2023/10/13/the-god-of-single-cell-organisms/#more-10593

    j

  5. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Mr. B – this is a rewarding in-depth text! Going back in time and into the musical power spot the album comes from. Though I can understand the author‘s playlist, i would personally always stick to the experience of the whole album. Aside from the music it contains brilliant short stories on absent gods, and a convincing sequence of tracks. Sometimes works from the margins have to be lfted from the dust of history. This album is definitely what they call a buried treasure, or, said with a smile, a „heavenly music corporation“.

  6. Michael Engelbrecht:

    By the way, Mr. Bang, you wrote me that you will now travel to Skopje where you have this commission work, “After the Wildfire”, together with Arve and traditional north Macedonian players / orchestra + Ingar Zach. Will that be recorded? My radio station (that once broadcasted a lot of Punkt concerts😉) might be interested in it. At least i imagine that, and would be the go-between (in case).

    Days ago, Thomas Loewner presented the new „orchestral“ Nils Petter Molvaer album and told the story of how it came into existence. With your role in it. If artists present some of their classics in an orchestral way, it often goes terribly wrong. But, here, though it is a mild, mellow-yellow take on the archaic Khmer and associates, it works fine and softly draws you in.

  7. Mr. B:

    Sidsel pointed out the fact that we all come from different places musically, including pop songwriting, experimental, dance, rock, metal, folk and jazz – bound together in the language of free improvisation. I can relate to that in my own experience finding and developing a new language of expression using the sampler as metal detector in search for silver and gold.

  8. Mr.B:

    If the Skopje commission sounds good it might be a candidate for a release at Punkt Editions and a possible broadcast at Deutschland Radio. Will keep you posted.

    As for the NPM album, the whole process of re-amping the original NRK recordings proved successful and gave the material warmth and depth. Some overdubs were made by two of my former students giving it more color in certain passages. By using 76 speakers onstage It opened up new possibilities for expanding the frequency range and balancing the different sections of the orchestra. I´ve never heard an orchestra with such low end.

    As a producer I find it rewarding to stick to the vision during the process and hearing the given final results. In this respect it is somewhat different than what Sidsel talked about in the article above – where the process is the focus and not the final result.

  9. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Our love for „low ends“, Mr. B, from the years of „On Land“ and „Hybrid“ – to these peculiar orchestral vibes:). An experiment in sound, for sure, without sacrificing emotion…

    Somehow similar to your live-sampling:
    what would it mean
    without a „soul in the machine“!?

  10. JB:

    Certainly. Tools for exploring and making new discoveries. To me it’s where the beauty meets the beast. The electro-acoustic blending of different sounds (i.e the mentioned Eno/Brook classics). Not everything needs treatments, but when it works it becomes music for the „uncommon gods“. Wondering what The Pearl would sound like without the harmonizer and slowed down tapes etc. Its the perfect combination that excites me and why I still find the world of music an interesting place.

  11. Michael Engelbrecht:

    I can endlessly listen to THE PLATEAUX OF MIRROR and THE PEARL. The only one I know who has probably given the music more listening rounds, is my old friend Ian McCartney. Brian Eno rarely returned to a „sound“ he has explored once, but in this case he was thankfully tempted to return to that special setting with THE PEARL (even more space, more breath – „Lost In Space“ was the title of a nice review in the Melody Maker).

    By the way, Thomas Köner‘s music comes to mind, too, when speaking of low end excellence.

    Lately I remembered the days of Tigran Hamasyan, Arve, Eivind and you making the music of ATMOSPHÈRES in Lugano. What a natural flow of energy, and for sure worth the good old „double album“. Not many treatments required in the mixing – and I still love diving into these atmosphères.

    Though i am not a visual guy when it comes to listening, I have a very detailed memory of those days with Manfred in Lugano. Funny enough, whenever I read about a production at the Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano (most of the time with Stefano Amerio at the controls), I AM THERE.

    This happened lately when listening to the forthcoming (and utterly entrancing!) solo piano album by Nitai Hershkovits, CALL ON THE OLD WISE. The wooden auditorium, the hugeness of the place, the intimacy of the sound, the shadows of the men in the background. Nitai is a true storyteller on his instrument, in the literal sense.

    But let‘s return to the phenomenon you called „the beauty and the beast“. Listen to the outstanding work I INSIDE THE OLD YEAR DYING by P J Harvey, and the terrific beauty of all those heavily treated instrumented. I do call that alchemy, kind of.

  12. Mr.B:

    The Lugano recording session was special. Everyone so focused and highly concentrated and Manfred in ship shape. After the first day we had enough material for the album. On the second day Manfred announced the double album. It all started at Alte Feuerwache in Mannheim during Enjoy Jazz where Tigran and I did a duo. Later we did a duo at Punkt where Eivind joined for the last piece. Your broadcasting reached Manfred resulting in calling me up wanting to to make a recording session. We discussed possibilities and brought along Arve and Eivind to Lugano.

    ps! I must give that PJ Harvey album a listen. off to Frankurt. Boarding this minute.

  13. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Good flight! Take care!

  14. Michael Engelbrecht:

    No one of the readers of these lines will probably arrve in time in Skopje, but, here is the background, and then some other concerts I wish I would experience live, too, but no chance to get there. I wanted my life to be a bit more contemplative, but life had other choices😅:

    1) AFTER THE WILDFIRE: JAN BANG & ARVE HENRIKSEN WITH FAME’S INSTITUTE ORCHESTRA ARRANGED AND CONDUCTED BY DZIJAN EMIN @ SKOPJE JAZZ FESTIVAL 2023

    JAN BANG & ARVE HENRIKSEN – AFTER THE WILDFIRE

    feat. DZIJAN EMIN & FAME’S INSTITUTE ORCHESTRA

    Jan Bang – composer, live sampling

    Arve Henriksen – composer, trumpet, voice

    Dzijan Emin – arranger, conductor

    Ingar Zach – percussion

    Geir Østensjø – sound engineer

    + Fame’s Institute Orchestra

    After the Wildfire is a commissioned piece for orchestra with the two composers Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang as soloists together with percussion player Ingar Zach. The music is arranged and conducted for the F.A.M.E.S. Institute Orchestra by Dzijan Emin and it will be premiered there.

    Jan Bang is an internationally acclaimed Norwegian musician, composer, record producer and professor, as well as the artistic director of the internationally renowned Punkt festival. He is one of Norway’s most accomplished and influential producers and the kind of musical innovator.

    Arve Henriksen is probably Norway´s most versatile musician of his generation, known for his very unique and personal voice on the trumpet. He is also one of the most eloquent collaborators in contemporary music, who has worked with a vast array of Norwegian and international musicians, including David Sylvian, Dhafer Youssef, Jon Hassell, Hope Sandoval, Laurie Anderson, a.o.

    After the Wildfire consists of eight pieces written for trumpet, sampler, orchestra, percussion, kaval, zurla and voice. The performance includes Norwegian drummer Ingar Zach and features appearances by some of the finest Macedonian singers and kaval players.

    2) October 21 / 22: PJ Harvey will perform her music at the Admiralspalast in Berlin (i cannot say how much I love her recent album, and it has, for me, all the stardust qualities I exeperience on CUCKOOLAND, THE SHIP, BISH BOSCH, MARK HOLLIS, or MANAFON) …

    3) October 24: Brian Eno: Ships (performed with his inner circe and an orchestral setting in Berlin at The PHILHARMONIE) … i am so happy i do at least have an agent there who will experience this from a sweet spot in the eight row, reporting me everything the day after.

  15. Michael Engelbrecht:

    So, Mr. B,

    hope you‘ll have a good time in Germany and Skopje and keep me or us posted here, there or anywhere.

    In the meantime, after receiving some more albums of the near future, I can now kind of finish my list of my favourite albums of 2023. I have to confess most of these albums are „growers“, so there will never be a „final list“: everything keeps in motion.

    The two songs of your recent album, TWO LAST INCHES OF SKY, found a perfect place in the sequence of tracks, and it is nearly impossible to NOT listen to that album from start to end.

    There is ine album with Jakob Bro coming out In November i haven‘t heard yet. Anyway, you cannot go wrong buying all these albums😉

    Heartfelt wishes in dark times,

    Michael!

    01. P.J. Harvey: I Inside The Old Year Dying *****
    02. Fire! Orchestra: Echoes *****
    03. Natural Information Society: Since Time Is Gravity *****
    04. The Necks: Travel ****1/2
    05. Paul St. Hilaire: Tikiman Vol. 1   ****1/2
    06. Nitai Hershkovits: Call on The Old Wise ****1/2
    07. Mette Henriette: Drifting ****1/2
    08. Jan Bang / Eivind Aarset: Two Last Inches Yof Sky ****1/2
    09. Lana Del Rey: Did You Know That There‘s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. ****1/2
    10. Brian Eno: Top Boy (O.S.T.) ****1/2
    11. Lankum: False Lankum ****1/2
    12. Craven Faults: Standers ****1/2
    13. Wilco: Cousin ****
    14. Roger Eno: The Skies, They Shift Like Chords ****
    15. Alabaster DePlume: Come With Fierce Grace ****
    16. Modern Nature: No Fixed Point In Space ****
    17. Rickie Lee Jones: Pieces Of Treasure ****
    18. Califone: Villagers ****
    19. Muthspiel / Colley / Blade: Dance Of The Elders ****
    20. Aksak Maboul: Une Acenture de VV (Songspiel) ****
    21. Josephine Foster: Domestic Sphere ****
    22. Seb Rochford & Kit Downes: A Short Diary ****
    23. Blake Mills: Jelly Road ****
    24. Nils Økland / Sigbjorn Apeland: Glimmer****

  16. Olaf Westfeld:

    Fire, PJ, NIS sind auch unter meinen To5 2023, vllcht in einer anderen Reihenfolge – mal sehen & mal sehen, was da noch allet kommt.

  17. Michael Engelbrecht:

    @ Olaf: Norbert E. mailte mir, PJH, F!O, und NIS seien auch eine Top 3, in exakt der Reihenfolge. Jan Bang was touring with Joshua Abrams, the „CEO“ of NIS, lately with an Alice Coltrane project. Good life to live in the music you love.

  18. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Forthcoming albums of 2023 that might be of special interest:

    1) Arnold Dreyblatt and The Orchestra Of Excited Strings
    (An unsung hero of mininalism)

    2) Levon Eskenian‘s Gurdjieff Ensemble (surely a csndidate for my Klanghorizonte edition in January 2024)

    3) Palle Mikkelborg / Jakob Bro / Marilyn Mazur
    (Some of you remember the wonderfzl album of Mikkelborg / Bro / Christensen)

    Noch eine Anmerkung für die Literaturfreunde: Sinikka Langelands Mitte September veröffentlichtes Album Wind And Sun enthält Vertonungen von Texten des gerade mit dem Literatur-Nobelpreis ausgezeichneten Dichters und Romanciers Jon Fosse.

    And i hope sometime in the near future PUNKT EDITIONS will release the concert Eivind Aarset did with his group some years ago at Punkt. Everybody at Hotel Norge listening on the highest floor was entranced, thrilled and sent places. Ask Henning Bolte! 😉🥁

  19. Eivind Aarset:

    Thanks for adding us to the record of the year list. I am really happy about this album and hopefully we will be able to perform more with this line up.

    About new releases:, well I have started to develop some material for a new record under my own name, but this will not be released before 25, recorded and mixed in 24…

    In regards to the PUNKT concert: When I received the files from the concert there were holes in the recording, lots of missing bits a parts. So this concert will only exist in our memories….

  20. Michael Engelbrecht:

    OMG, holes… But the best concerts of my life only exist in memories…

    Keith Jarrett / Dewey Redman / Charlie Haden / Paul Motian ( Jazz Ost West, Nürnberg, 1976

    Byard Lancaster III / Steve McCall / French bass player (Theatre de Mouffetard, Paris, 1974)

    Ovary Lodge, w. Julie Tippetts (a quartet minus Keith Tippett who was ill on that day (Moers, Svhlosshof, 1975 or 74)

    Oregon, The classic quartet, Münster, Westfälisches Museum, 1974

    Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Nürnberg, Zeppelinfeld, 1982

    Obviously i am child of the 70‘s, but the quartet of PUNKT came close. 😉 All unforgettable. PUNKT EDITIONS nevertheless a treasure grove… that I know!

  21. Olaf Westfeld:

    My top concerts were 10-20 years later:

    Einstürzende Neubauten, Stadthalle Osnabrück, 1991 (?)

    My Bloody Valentine, Somewhere in Hamburg (Markthalle?), 1991 or 1992

    Gang Starr/Guru, Weltspiele Hannover, 1993

    Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Christian McBride, SUNY College at Potsdam, Potsdam, New York, 1997

    Lee Scratch Perry, Pfefferberg, Berlin, 1997

    Phoenix, Knaack, Berlin, 2000

    Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man, UdK Berlin, 2003

    Blumfeld, Postbahnhof Berlin, 2007

    Great Memories!

  22. Mr.B:

    First day of rehearsals here in Skopje. The orchestra and traditional musicians gathering in the basement rehearsal room of Fame’s Institute. The kaval players and the traditional singers sounding wonderful. Unusual combinations lead to new discoveries.

    Tomorrow is the last day of rehearsals before moving into the Opera and ballet house for Thursday’s performance. Ben Lamar Gay is performing in another venue after our concert. Tempted to listen if the feeling is good.

  23. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Unusual combinations…

    Remember Jon Hassell and Farafina. Their album still grows with time.

    Remember “The Trance Of Seven Colors” by Gnawa legend M. M. Ghania with Pharoah Sanders. A huge influence on your friend’s (Joshua Abrams) Natural Information Society. I got the vinyl months ago, an incredible meeting.

    Remember Carla Bley and „Tropic Appetites“.

    Remember Arve‘s subtle colouring on that one album of „Trio Mediaeval“ – not filling all spaces, but patiently waiting for the moments to enter the scenery…

    These all are works that allow us listeners to dive deeper and deeper. No cheap playing with tricks / effects / first glamarous impressions of a strange world, but a heartfelt (active / searching) process of empathy.

  24. Mr.B:

    I met a member of Farafina during one of the tours I did with Jon Hassell. Jon was a master alchemist, bringing together from different time zones and different places, creating his very own dream world. „What do I really like“ was his mantra.

    Once Jon and I performed with Diwan Biskra, the Gnawa group from Marocco. They are friends of master musicians of Jujucu and Madjid Bekkas who is connected to Hamid Drake.

    In the same sense but different, I believe in every note that Arve is playing. He is a master of his own.

  25. Michael Engelbrecht:

    „What do I really like“ –
    like skipping what you don‘t love
    like in live sampling
    (choices made in a moment)

    Good choices tonite!

  26. Mr. B:

    Just finished tonight’s concert which went well. Packed audience and wonderful energy.

  27. Michael Engelbrecht:

    So, now you‘re heading back home…. If it has been recorded, and permission is granted, one track of the concert could be broadcasted at the end of January, in my edition of Klanghorizonte.

    Just an idea for the back of your mind. No quick response required. Maybe there is someone i can contact.

    I imagine that track in my next Klanghorizonte, in January, in good neigbourhood of new albums by The Gurdjieff Ensemble and Nitai Hershkovits.


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