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Secrets of the Beehive Import

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 24, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Digitally remastered reissue, in standard jewel case, of this 1987 album from the former vocalist of Japan..Features one bonus track: 'Promise (The Cult of Eurydice)' Virgin.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 24, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Caroline
  • ASIN: B000F3T7YC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,967 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Over the years, when I'm asked to name my favorite album, there's one that I keep coming back to-- David Sylvian's "Secrets of the Beehive". Without a doubt Sylvian's masterwork, this album is breathtaking in its power. Sylvian, with an array of talented musicians (including frequent collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto who arranged string and horns, guitarist David Torn, trumpeter Mark Isham, bassist Danny Thompson, and drummer as well as ex-Japan bandmate and Sylvian's brother, Steve Jansen), constructed a record of such stunning and fragile beauty that it really must be heard to be appreciated.

The album is all about mood- the selection of instruments largely assists in this-- upright basses, pianos, strings, acoustic guitars, hand drumming, all setting an environment of melancholy and longing-- Sylvian's tenor, having assumed a depth quite any other vocalist, is mesmerizing-- he conveys the mood of the pieces often with a style that seems contradictory to the intent, but somehow it works.

Lyrically, this is also Sylvian's best, and is the kind of material that you talked about when you were in high school and pop lyrics mattered. Somtimes he uses metaphor to great effect (often about oceans and rain), althought much of the time its a direct expression. I'm not going to try and analyze them or discuss why they're great, let me just quote a few moments and you can consider for youself: "we say that we're in love / but secretly wishing for rain" ("September"), "but all the hurdles that fell in our laps / were fuel for the fire and straw for our back" ("Orpheus"), "listen to the waves against the docks / I don't know where they've been / I'm waiting for the skies to open up / and let the happiness in" ("Let the Happiness In").
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Format: Audio CD
This album can quite literally put your mind in an altered state. This is a fact. Almost drug-like. The degree of beauty and staggering power that David Sylvian's Secrets of the Beehive offers is simply unavailable elsewhere. Nothing I've ever heard comes close to approaching this gorgeous work of art. Nothing else. Not even close.

In this album, Sylvian's deep/haunting/timeless lyrics are only matched by the awe-inspiring musical atmospheres that they weave through. The sound is very cinematic with its variety of musical textures -- very visual stuff, even before Sylvian's words perfectly augment the scene. Do you really "see" shimmering water during the piano solo in Orpheus? Does the string and piano tag of at the end of September somehow really "sound" like summer ending? Do you "see" a gentle ocean fog and gulls in your mind's eye during Let the Happiness In? Reality check -- I am aware that if you haven't heard Secrets of the Beehive, what I just wrote sounds incredibly stupid, but for those who know this album well, they are probably nodding in recognition. But even those beautiful "visuals" are only tiny little elements of a whole vast world created here. And it only gets better with repeated listening. By the way, that's when you really know it's art -- when not only does it NOT burn-out, but continues to grow deeper everytime you hear it. That is what you get with Secrets of the Beehive.

One major criticism: The record label (once again) insisted on throwing an extra track at the end of this CD (this time it's "Promise" last time it was "Forbidden Colours"). It's kind of like painting a goatee on the Mona Lisa. The original release had only 9 tracks, and ended with the song "Waterfront.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This work came to my attention by coincidence only a few months after its original release 1987. Prior to that, I had enjoyed some of Sylvian's work with Japan. His first two solo albums were, however, somewhat boring. A few tracks on each one were focused but too many lacked direction.
That changed dramatically on Secrets, an album hardly without a misstep. It is for the most parts rather slow and soothing, simple instrumentation, often in an experimental style with jazz elements on some of the tracks. Standout tracks are hard to define, they have changed in my opinion through the years. The lyrics wander between hope and despair, domestic rage to the joy of life.
This is without doubt one of my favourite albums through the years. Listening first to it at the age of 22, I remember vividly the strange emotions the album's contradictions had on me. Despite being anything but a album full of catchy tunes, it struck a chord within me immediately.
I am not alone in that opinion, I was surprised seeing so many people stating similar thoughts on Amazon, given it was a commercial failure. I must admit that I haven't enjoyed any other Sylvian album since in its whole, although Dead Bees On a Cake had some splendid moments and his collaboration with Holger Czukay, Plight and Premonition, provides an ethereal listening experience.
The original CD version had one enormous problem; the hiss in the recording overshadowed often the sound (or lack of it). Listening to that version often made one wish that better care would have been taken of such delicate music. This re-mastered version improves that anomaly to an incredible extent. The sound becomes richer and the whole listening experience becomes more fulfilling.
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