- Audio CD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: E1 Entertainment Dist ***
- ASIN: 5558513594
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
Snow Borne Sorrow
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Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, "Snow Borne Sorrow" is as much a logical successor to "Secrets of the Beehive" as "Dead Bees on a Cake". Or perhaps better still, it feels like the child of the unreleased "Little Girls With 99 Lives" material (some of which saw the light of day as b-sides to 'Dead Bees' singles) and 'Beehive'-- keeping the jazz-tinged sound and textures of the former but eschewing lush textures in favor of a '99 Lives'-like modern noir sound. In better words, its sort of like a modern, loose take on Sylvian's jazz-infected composition.
At its best, the pieces have an unnatural energy to them, from the loping bass of opener "Wonderful World" to the guitar-driven "Darkest Birds" or the bizarrely folky-filtered through Miles Davis "The Day the Earth Stole Heaven". But at times, the album seems to overreach, primarily in a couple overlong pieces as the title track and closer "The Librarian", neither of which particularly go anywhere. But on the other hand, something like "Atom and Cell" feels like a lifeless harmony-laden pop song that somehow manages to wholly captivate.
All in all, I find this a pretty mixed record-- at times satisfying, at times I lost interest. Then again, I didn't get "Blemish" at first, so maybe I'll change my mind in a dozen more listens. There's enough here to keep me coming back, but not enough to get me raving about it.
My immediate answer is that the songs are just too, too long and laden with meaning and heavyness. Not that Sylvian's stuff has ever been light fluff, take "Before the Bullfight" as an example. But missing here are the rich arrangements like Sakamato's contribution to "Beehive" or Fripp's huge guitar work on "...Bullfight" that lift the heavyness of the lyric or vocal styling into something warmer. The songs don't tend to move that much on Snow Borne Sorrow. They find a pattern and they stick with it for a long time. They feel as if they written on loops. Also, his voice, which I am utterly devoted to, is mixed entirely too high and never gives the music a chance to take center-stage.
What I find most redeeming about SBS are the lyrics. The wit and depth of image are superior to anything he's written before. Lyrically, it's the picture of an artist working at the peak of his abilities. On Seratonin, bed sheets become "mountain ranges at my feet." Harmony is new for Sylvian but it comes off strangely yet masterfully on the chorus of "Atom and Cell.Read more ›
The material, in general, does not disappoint. This is probably the most accessible and commercial Sylvian release to date, with Sylvian coming across as more relaxed and easygoing than ever. The trio and guest contributors come together to create a work that, not surprisingly, is colorful, enlightening and unique. The hooks, however, are still a bit sparse (aside from the straightforward pop track, 'Darkest Birds,') And the vocal delivery, while beautiful, often comes across as a bit monotonous.
If you are looking for another 'Secrets of the Beehive', 'Gone to Earth' or even the excellent 'Rain Tree Crow' project, you won't necessarily find it here. 'Snow Borne Sorrow' for the most part lacks the brooding romanticism that made much of Sylvian's prior solo work so emotionally moving. But, alas, as times and people change, so does the music. There is still much to be enjoyed from this album, as it tends to reveal more of itself on repeated listenings and continues to mark Sylvian and his collaborators as some of the finest musical artists of our time.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent album from David Sylvian, Steve Jansen ( his brother), and Burnt Friedman. Great songwriting and an excellent array of collaborators such as Stina Nordenstam, Arve... Read morePublished on March 23, 2012 by gtrlovr
I heard "Banality of Evil" on a movie during the credits. It was so different, I had to see who it was. Read morePublished on October 26, 2010 by sody
Your collection is incomplete without this essential masterpiece, you'll feel incomplete without hearing this AT LEAST once daily. Read morePublished on September 27, 2010 by Jose Gutierrez Espinoza
After Blemish and Manafon we needed to listen to a more traditional Sylvian, with beautiful songs and vintage eighties atmospheres. Read morePublished on May 23, 2010 by Guarrera Carlo
Without someone great (Robert Fripp) to help out on these recordings they just are really kind of boring. He comes off as kind of a Male Sade with artier touches. Read morePublished on April 19, 2010 by great horse
Why waiting so long to buy? It's simple, I'm buying only vinyl the last years. But I'm a David Sylvian fan also. Read morePublished on April 13, 2010 by R. Nieuwenhuis
We tend to think of this as a Sylvian album rather than the three-way collaboration it is -- between Sylvian, Jansen and Burnt Friedman. Read morePublished on December 31, 2007 by J. Thornton
I first heard the song "The Banality of Evil" on the movie "The Number 23", and liked it so much that I researched and bought this album which has that song. Read morePublished on December 7, 2007 by T. Roe
Stunning musicianship...rich, lush, a bit jazzy with a gorgeous muted trumpet that's just right. Absolutely gorgeous!Published on December 7, 2007 by wisteria