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Brilliant Trees & Words With the Shaman Original recording reissued

4.7 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, September 13, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

David Sylvian Brilliant Trees/Words With The Shamen US CD album

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Pulling Punches
  2. The Ink In The Well
  3. Nostalgia
  4. Red Guitar
  5. Weathered Wall
  6. Backwaters
  7. Brilliant Trees
  8. Words With The Shaman: Pt. 1. Ancient Evening
  9. Words With The Shaman: Pt. 2. Incantation
  10. Words With The Shaman: Pt. 3. Awakening (Songs From The Tree Tops)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 13, 1991)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued
  • Label: Caroline
  • ASIN: B000000HZJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,789 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
The make up was still visible, the hairspray still holding fast, but this embarkation into the big solo world for Sylvian was not the stumbling of a new-born lamb, but the flapping wings of a caged bird set free! Gone were the heavily disguised lyrics that were a trademark of the Sylvian of old, replaced instead with an introspection that had been started a few years previous on the haunting "Ghosts" from 'Tin Drum". This was a man with something to say, something to exorcise and fears to share. Although not quite at the improvisation stage that he would reach with later work, Brilliant Trees moves heavily towards Jazz, a result of viewing the work of artist Frank Auerbach ('Oil on Canvas' sleeve artwork) and marvelling at its 'looseness'. Jazz for him seemed the closest musical form of this spontaneous painting style, allowing him the freedom to experiment musically, without the polished finishes that encapsulated the work done previously with Japan. This is a grey album. It makes no effort to please the listener. It marks the end of one Sylvian era and the begining of another. Sylvian is dead. Long live Sylvian. But for all this, 'Brilliant Trees is a masterpiece. He admitted to feeling uncomfortable singing such personal lyrics during the recording sessions. But sing them he did and took the first steps on the road to the contented inner-self that would almost be his by the time "dead Bees..." was released almost two decades later. 'Brilliant Trees' beauty lies in its ability to ask YOU questions about YOUR life. So take this album, listen, ask, and ultimately enrich your life!Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
First off, I am a big fan of David Sylvian's fluid vocals, so to me this album is like a billion wonderful Christmas presents. Secondly, I'm a huge jazz-funk fan, and the jazz-funk of "Red Guitar" *ALONE* was worth the cost of the whole CD in my opinion. Third, this is *THE* DS album to buy if you want the same sort of relaxing, soothing, "drown-out-the-real-world" sort of feeling you would get from an album like "Gentlemen Take Polaroids". Fourth, title track...'nuff said. Fifth, it's a special bonus treat to have "Words With the Shaman" on this CD, making it two albums in one. David Sylvian proved his worth as a great solo artist with this brilliant debut album. BRAVO!
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By A Customer on July 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
One of my all time favourites. I have lived more than half of my life with this album and the enchantment never stops. Although the 'Words with te Shaman'-section is a nice but unnecessary add-on, and the album kicks off on the wrong foot with the dullish up-tempo track 'Pulling Punches', everything else on this CD just shines. The title track alone makes the five stars well-deserved. The lyrics by themselves make beautiful poetry, but in combination with the adagio-feel of the music and Jon Hassle's airy trumpet-sound it really is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.
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By A Customer on November 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I think the thing that startled me on hearing this album, steeped as I was in in the evocative but distant music of Japan, was its immediacy and its warmth. Guitars that gasp! sounded like acoustic guitars and not like strangled birds. A fat acoustic bass here, piano front and center there. And the singing seemed less mannered, more earthy and transparent. While the album yields plenty of musical surprises -- Holger Czukay's squawking radio, Jan Hassel's plateau of trumpets, and lots of manipulated sounds -- the songs are disarmingly straightforward. It was as if Sylvian, once the high priest of artifice, was really trying to communicate. To this day, it is a near flawless album about reminiscence, faith and love. The one misstep is "Pulling Punches" which sounds dated, in much the same way as Talking Heads' "white funk" output at the time seems dated. But that's truly a minor quibble when contrasted with the wonderful jazzy sweep of "The Ink in the Well," or the sublime musical narrative of "Nostalgia". Above all, the title track remains to this listener one of the purest testaments to the power of, yep I'll say it, love, in any context. The addition of the "Shaman" EP is a bit of a distraction -- anything after the last note of "Brilliant Trees" fades is bound to disappoint, but it does follow thematically in terms of the Hassel collaboration. Sylvian would fulfill the promise of this debut with "Secrets of the Beehive" and revisit many of the themes many, many years later with "Dead Bees on a Cake." A troika of classic albums.
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Format: Audio CD
...well, for me, anyway. This one took me, musically speaking, from infancy to some sort of liminal state where my tastes were beginning to mature, like some sort of emotional and aesthetic signpost to adulthood. From go to whoa, this is a magnificent piece.

Other reviewers have been a little dismissive of "Pulling Punches", but check out the lyrics and the moaning trumpet work from Jon Hassell. moreover, listen to it in light of what comes after. "Pulling Punches" is like a question, or a manifesto, that is not resolved until (if then) "Brilliant Trees" - which is possibly my favourite Sylvian track of all ("Words with the Shaman", "Firepower" and "Mutability" run about level here) for the beauty of the lyrics and the delicacy of its musical realisation. In between times one is carried through a series of collaborations and collisions that result in a series of textures and soundscapes that appall in their despair ("Backwaters", "Weathered Wall"), enchant ("Red Guitar") and simply make you sing ("The Ink in the Well").

I am an unashamed fan of David Sylvian. This album -although it is not his most complete work - is why.
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