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listen  1. Small Metal Gods 5:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. The Rabbit Skinner 4:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
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listen  4. The Greatest Living Englishman10:55Album Only
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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

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 15, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2009
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • ASIN: B002GJ3OAG
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,677 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

2009 album from the acclaimed British vocalist and former member of Japan. David Sylvian is a man apart. In a thirty-year career that spans the New Romantic movement, ambient works and Progressive Rock, and mature and esoteric Pop, Sylvian has tested popular styles and bent them to his own vision. On Manafon, Sylvian pursues "a completely modern kind of chamber music. Intimate, dynamic, emotive, democratic, economical." In sessions in London, Vienna, and Tokyo, Sylvian assembled the world's leading improvisers and innovators, artists who explore free improvisation, space-specific performance, and live electronics. From Evan Parker and Keith Rowe, to Fennesz and members of Polwechsel, to Sachiko M and Otomo Yoshihide, the musicians provide both a backdrop and a counterweight to his own vocal performances.

Customer Reviews

That album too went straight in the bin.
Evan from Australia
Though musical expressions are fresh and unexpected, at the same time the whole body of work is thematic to the degree of being conceptual.
Sylvian's voice is well manicured, beautiful, jazzy, smooth and smoky.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Paul Cartwright on September 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I'm sure there will be more opinions in the negative with David Sylvian's new album " Manfon ". This is definitely not for every Sylvian fan . If you want David's melancholic lilting ballads, you've got " Secrets of the Beehive " or " Gone To Earth ". If you want glam, you've got Japan's " Obscure Alternative " and " Adolescent Sex ". If you want perfectly manicure pop, you've got " Tin Drum " and " Gentlemen take Polaroids ". But if you want an artist such as David Sylvian to mature and find new ways to keep themselves true....you've got " Blemish " and now " Manafon ". If I may make a comparison to Miles Davis, a man who searched and strove towards forging new ways of expression, new ways of rebellion, and at times wrestled with his artistic and personal demons. He continually struggled with himself and the public to make new music almost everytime. This artist NEVER stood still, and I'm sure lost and found listeners along the way. And in this day and age where music is manufactured in little plastic cases, all looking and sounding the same, safe as houses....with pop singers too afraid to say how they really feel ( or if they have anything to say at all ). Well I'm happy knowing that David Sylvian is in charge of his own creativity and is not afraid to show what he is feeling and communicating at this given time. At no point did I find this album a " smooth ride down the Nile on a hot summer's day ". Rather I was shocked in the same way it's sister album " Blemish " did a few years back. But with repeated listenings, I found a way to understand and appreciate the work. Music can either be a part of your furniture ( no real listening required ) or it can grab you attention forcing you to listen to it in different way. Manafon does this. So if you are up for charting unfamiliar waters, this album is for you. If not 1978's " Sometime's I feel so Low " beckons you !
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jose Artiles-Gil on October 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is no doubt that David Sylvian is one of the most creative musicians since the late nineties. His new album, "Manafon" bears out his rich imagination and daring pursuit of original experimentation. This time though his effort has not worked as expected. In spite of the huge talent of the musicians accompanying him, one does not get to feel that they do their best to deliver a good performance, and it seems that "improvising" turns out to be a license to make nonsense noise. No matter the content of Sylvian's lyrics, it does not seem that they cohere with the sounds created for the occasion. Hence my three stars, an expression of my mild dissapointment, something very unusual on my part when I engage Sylvian's works.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hank Napkin on September 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's well established that human beings are pattern-loving creatures, even able to convince themselves that they find patterns in instances where patterns emphatically do not occur (constellations, easy; this music, no need). As many of the negative reviews here attest, the utter absence of traditional musical patterns can prove quite disorienting -- even disconcerting -- for many, especially when the listener's purpose is simply reduced to one of fulfilling his or her pre-existing, subjectively preferential expectations. And, given how predictable and familiar most music already is, driven as it is into formulaic, narrow stylistic genres with the sole purpose of guaranteeing the commercial acceptance of artificially described and descried niche audiences, the time to move on surely arrived a while ago. After all, there are now some countless millions of readily recognizable songs and recordings available, meaning that Sylvian poses absolutely no threat to conventional music-making. Though he does offer much more promise.

With "Manafon", Sylvian takes many more steps into the directions set by immersions in sound and improvisation mapped out by "Blemish" and "Naoshima". His recent collaboration on "Cartography " by Arve Henriksen includes a few pieces that revealed some of these techniques within more conventional musical settings. But "Manafon" goes on to more radical ends, with a heritage that must acknowledge the highly staged "Orpheus, The Lowdown" by Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge and the remarkable body of work assembled by Bryan Day and his "Shelf Life", "Eloine" and other improvising units.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Chris Murphy on July 4, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This could probably be a double review of both Manafon and Blemish. Oddly, there's more to like on Died in the Wool as it has a denser, richer musical presentation. Both albums are essentially spoken prose poetry over post-modern instrumental interludes. It was very reminiscent of Rain Tree Crow without the wonderfully crafted melodies and rhythms. Too often Mr. Sylvian relies on the double-tracked, overlaid vocals of all his past work. Instead of adding beauty and texture to the pieces, they seem cliched and unnecessary. And I am really tired of his lyrics being laden with the pronoun "she" - it's a subject matter that he's used so much in the past. I've tried to keep up with Mr. Sylvian and his progressive works, but these albums are just self-indulgent to me. Time for him to break free of this musical eddy.
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