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Camphor [Limited Edition]

David SylvianAudio CD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, Limited Edition, 2002 --  

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The David Sylvian that fronted new wave pop band Japan wore luminescent hair and glam make-up; on the cover of his solo debut, 1984's Brilliant Trees, he was stylish and refined, a gentleman popster. But the illustration that introduces 2003's Blemish sends a different message: he's bedraggled and unshaven, his far-off expression turned haunted. The new millennium has seen a more ... Read more in Amazon's David Sylvian Store

Visit Amazon's David Sylvian Store
for 51 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 18, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition
  • Label: Virgin Records Us
  • ASIN: B000063KG8
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #368,299 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. All My Mother's Names
2. Red Earth (As Summertime Ends)
3. Answered Prayers
4. The Song Which Gives The Key To Perfection
5. New Moon At Red Deer Wallow
6. Praise (pratah Smarami)
7. Wave (Version)
8. Mother And Child
9. Plight (The Spiralling Of Winter Ghosts) Detail
10. Upon This Earth
See all 14 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Plight (The Spiralling Of Winter Ghosts)
2. Mutability (A New Beginning Is In The Offing) Detail
3. Premonition (Giant Empty Iron Vessel)

Editorial Reviews

Limited Edtion 2002 Compilation of Instrumental Tracks from the Former Lead Singer of Japan and Rain Tree Crow. 'wave', 'plight' and 'upon this Earth' were all Newly Remixed by Sylvian. 'red Earth', 'new Moon at Deer Wallow' and 'big Wheels in Shanty Town' were Originally Recorded by Rain Tree Crow. The Bonus Disc Includes Three Tracks Originally by Sylvian and Holger Czukay, Newly Remixed by Sylvian.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of David Sylvian's instrumental work. August 13, 2007
Format:Audio CD
When David Sylvian's twenty year relationship with Virgin Records came to an end, he delivered two compilations to them drawn from his catalog, a vocal compilation ("Everything and Nothing") and an instrumental one ("Camphor"). Both were initially released as limited editions with bonus discs and eventually saw wider release without the bonus disc. Together, they provide a fantastic overview of the bulk of Sylvian's work, and while some of his decisions (particularly with respect to the Japan material) may irk some of his longtime fans, the value of these sets-- both to the unitiated and old hands, is difficult to estimate.

"Camphor" is the instrumental piece, a single disc compilation of mostly instrumental works drawn from Sylvian's solo catalog and work with Rain Tree Crow. Along the way, there's a pair of songs not before commercially available (both were released on a CD Sylvian sold on tour the year before this came out) and three remixes.

The CD paints a fairly interesting picture of Sylvian as an instrumentalist-- right away it's pretty clear this eschews the usual ambient atmosphere with "All of My Mother's Names", a feature for guitarist Marc Ribot from 1999's "Dead Bees on a Cake". Ribot coughs up a churning freak of a solo that defies expectation and predictability and still, nearly 8 years after I first heard it, I'm in awe of the piece. But it's not ambient, and while the album will drift in an out of ambient sounds (i.e. "Answered Prayers", "A Brief Conversation Ending in Divorce"), the real beauty of the record is the breadth of diversity of the work on it, be it the rolling funk of Rain Tree Crow's "Big Wheels in Shanty Town", the traditional ambient sounds of "The Healing Place" or the noise excursion of the title track.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I think I've been here before... August 20, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Aaaaarrrrrrggghh. I can't believe I blithely purchase everything with David Sylvian's name on it. With the exception of a remix or two (Wave is nice, but did I really need another version?) and 'The Song Which Gives The Key To Perfection', I already have everything from other sources. Conceptually, it doesn't even work as a collection because there is no flow or consistent tone to the pieces. Ambient here, vocal there, experimental after that. Bleah.
In the same purchase from Amazon, I also ordered JBK 'Playing in a Room With People', so it was kind of a double whammy for me. Now I have 'Big Wheels In Shanty Town' on three CDs. If JBK and Sylvian love this piece so much to release it three times, perhaps this is proof that they should record another album together.
After Everything and Nothing, Approaching Silence, and now Camphor, I'm ready for some new music.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not much bang for the buck November 3, 2002
Format:Audio CD
I should have heeded the reviews instead of buying every compilation Sylvian puts out. Guess I liked Everything and Nothing so much I thought this would feature a good mix of old and new instrumentals, plus a lot of remixes. Boy, was I wrong.
There's very little new here, aside from slightly reworked, prettier versions of Wave, a more accessibly jazzy Mother and Child, and The Healing Place. And that's it, out of 13 songs! Oh, yes, there's a new Indian praise hymn The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection, and Camphor, which Sylvian used as the introductory music to his live concert tour this year. But if you bought the souvenir tour CD, you already own those tracks.
Not to mention the bonus CD features Plight and Premonition, not one of my favorites among Sylvian's admittedly spotty instrumental work.
If you're a diehard Sylvian fan like I am, you'll find all the rest of the songs from this compilation on Rain Tree Crow, Dead Bees On a Cake, Plight and Premonition, Flux and Mutability, and the instrumental side of Gone to Earth.
All I can say is, this is Sylvian's most disappointing output to date. Heed my advice: save your money for Everything and Nothing or the real album to come-- something I should have done.
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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars i'm really sorry about this, david... June 18, 2002
Format:Audio CD
...but you let me down! And it isn't that I'm not a fan of ambient music--I am (I have about 500 ambient CDs, out of a collection of 1500 CDs total). But Mr. Sylvian, your ambient output is spotty. Flux and Mutability is great. Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities (hard to find, fans, I know) is very good. The instrumental tracks on Gone to Earth are wonderful. (So much so, I've thought about paying some obscene price on eBay for the Japanese import double CD of Gone to Earth which includes all the tracks as the original LP.)
But Plight and Premonition is so-so. Side B of Brilliant Trees was kinda boring, as was all of Approaching Silence. (I wasn't able to afford Ember Glance. Sorry.)
As for Camphor...the new tracks are good. But they're too lively to fit well on an "ambient" album. They should have been on an album by themselves. With the rest of the material here--mostly those same Gone to Earth tracks (some reworked), and also a few Rain Tree Crow tracks--the new stuff doesn't sound right. It's all jumbled together; it doesn't flow.
At least on disc one, the reworkings are interesting. But the bonus disc--oh, David, why didn't you leave Plight and Premonition alone? They're not too badly mangled (and Mutability, also here, may be untouched) but these funny little whooshes and blips are NOT improvements.
Ambient compilations just don't work. (The Ambient Expanse, a Steve Roach-directed collaboration with several separate artists, is the only counterexample which comes to mind.) But if you had to give us a sort of new stuff/old stuff jumble, why oh WHY couldn't you have given us the Gone to Earth tracks that aren't available on any but the Japanese CDs?
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic compilation of a brilliant artist
Wonderful compilation. Highlights include Plight (the spiralling of winter ghosts) on disc two, Upon This Earth, Praise, and The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection.
Published on August 11, 2009 by Renato Fabbro
4.0 out of 5 stars A good overview of David Sylvian's instrumental work.
When David Sylvian's twenty year relationship with Virgin Records came to an end, he delivered two compilations to them drawn from his catalog, a vocal compilation ("Everything and... Read more
Published on August 13, 2007 by Michael Stack
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfection on at least one track
"Everything and Nothing" is a much better Sylvian compilation, but "The Song that Gives the Key to Perfection" is nearly worth the price of this set alone. Read more
Published on August 7, 2003 by Stephen Silberman
5.0 out of 5 stars Good.
The remixes are better than the originals. I don't see this as a failed ambient compilation at all. I would be bored if it were all ambient. Read more
Published on August 15, 2002 by Lawrence
3.0 out of 5 stars Messing with the goods
An ok but not stellar introduction to Sylvian's instrumental work. Another reviewer tore this as not succeeding as an ambient collection -- since several of the tracks are far... Read more
Published on July 11, 2002 by August Sanders
5.0 out of 5 stars Transcends genres
Beautiful pieces of music. You may call some of the pieces instrumental and others may be called ambient (see other review) or even vocal (disc 1, track 4) but overall it's a very... Read more
Published on June 21, 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars Mushrooms on the Moon
I am really a devout Sylvian listener. Although I prefer his vocal works I decided to buy this collection of instrumentals. Read more
Published on June 19, 2002 by Mars Velvet
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