David Sylvian / deluxe vinyl reissues

Four albums from 1984 – 1987 issued on ‘deluxe’ vinyl

Four early David Sylvian albums will be issued on 180g vinyl in February.

The albums in question are Brilliant Trees (1984), Alchemy – An Index of Possibilities (1985), Gone to Earth (1986) and Secrets of the Beehive (1987).

These are described as ‘deluxe’ vinyl reissues and thus there are a few changes (to presentation, not audio). David’s debut Brilliant Trees is now housed in a gatefold sleeve, the AlchemyGone to Earth and Secrets of the Beehive albums feature brand new artwork and all come pressed on 180g vinyl (Gone to Earth is a double) with printed inner bags.

These are all released on 22 February 2019. Similar treatment for the Japan-reunion-in-everything-but-name project, Rain Tree Crow, is expected around March 2019.

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David Sylvian

Brilliant Trees [VINYL]


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David Sylvian

Alchemy: An Index Of Possibilities [VINYL]


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David Sylvian

Secrets Of The Beehive [VINYL]


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David Sylvian

Gone To Earth [VINYL]


Brilliant Trees

Side A
Pulling Punches (5:02)
The Ink In The Well (4:29)
Nostalgia (5:42)
Red Guitar (5:11)

Side B
Weathered Wall (5:44)
Backwaters (4:53)
Brilliant Trees (8:40)

Alchemy – An Index of Possibilities

Side A
Words With The Shamen – Part 1 (5:15)
Words With The Shamen – Part 2 (3:27)
Words With The Shamen – Part 3 (5:18)
Preparations For A Journey (3:41)

Side B
Steel Cathedrals (18:56)

Secrets of the Beehive

Side A
September (1:18)
The Boy With The Gun (5:18)
Maria (2:50)
Orpheus (4:51)
The Devil’s Own (3:12)

Side B
When Poets Dreamed of Angels (4:47)
Mother and Child (3:15)
Let The Happiness In (5:37)
Waterfront (3:27)

Gone To Earth

Side A
Taking The Veil (4:40)
Laughter and Forgetting (2:40)
Before The Bullfight (9:40)
Gone To Earth (3:06)

Side B
Wave (9:11)
River Man (4:54)
Silver Moon (6:10)

Side C
The Healing Place (5:35)
Answered Prayers (3:01)
Where The Railroad Meets The Sea (2:52)
The Wooden Cross (5:04)
Silver Moon Over Sleeping Steeples (2:22)

Side D
Camp Fire: Coyote Country (3:51)
A Bird Of Prey Vanishes Into A Bright Blue Cloudless Sky (3:16)
Home (4:33)
Sunlight Seen Through Towering Trees (3:02)
Upon This Earth (6:25)

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Michael Rawlison.

I agree the new Gone to Earth cover doesn’t quite suit the hauntingly, beautiful atmosphere of the music, but it is a lovely car. Volvo 1800s I think, post 1966 model with the straight trim behind the door.

Mike Larson

I just received the albums, and as huge fan of David Sylvian, I’m pretty disappointed in the sound quality of the vinyl. It sounds really flat, dull and boring. Like it’s missing the crisp high frequency content and low bass. Anyone else experiencing this?

Roberto Giannotta

I think it’s a feature of these albums’ original mastering — the original presses share the same issues.


Just bought two of these reissues: Brilliant trees and Gone to Earth. Am I the only one who think that the cover artworks are out of focus? Especially GtE.

Fred Somsen

Got mine. Already went through Secrets… and Alchemy and both seem to have problems with crackles and noises. Not sure if it’s a pressing problem but will find out after I go back to the shop where I bought them.
Anyone else with a similar problem?


Are you properly deal with static? Every record should be decharged before you can play it.

[…] predicted, when the David Sylvian vinyl reissues were announced, the 1991 Japan reunion album called Rain Tree Crow is also getting the same reissue treatment in […]

Lee Lawrence

Any chance of you doing an ‘unboxing’ (for want of a better word) of these Paul? I’ve just bought the Dead Bees On A Cake reissue (I’d already bought the RSD version) and think it is excellent in terms of both the quality of the disc and the packaging. Would like to see your take on the two recent Abbey Road Japan reissues too:)

gary clark

Agree with many of the points already made. A few bonus tracks would have been nice. I would have would have liked a run of coloured vinyl editions. The white vinyl of Dead Bees as a cracker.

Paul B

What’s happened to ‘Forbidden Colours’, on the end of ‘Secrets of the Beehive’? From the above track listing the album now seems to end with ‘Waterfront’.

Robert G

‘Forbidden Colours’ was never part of the original album, but a CD bonus track. Original vinyl release of SOTB ended with ‘Waterfront’.


There’s a great demo of a song called ‘a beautiful country’ from the duets album with Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Women) on YouTube. Believe David pit it up on his site briefly then deleted it. Anyone know why the album never saw the light of day?

David Waters

In the words of the artist himself – seems fair enough to me….

“On the subject of vinyl album artwork 2019: As the original art for my albums had been lost/destroyed on its journey from one label’s stewardship to another, I decided against scanning pristine copies of the original vinyl covers (as Universal did with the recent Japan reissues) and instead create a series that works as a ‘collection’ incorporating new photographic prints and design elements. With no budget, but access to Yuka’s archives and Chris’ design contributions, we feel we’ve created something beautifully expansive as will be evident once the set is seen in its entirety.

I was fortunate enough to have retained some of Nigel Grierson’s work for ‘Beehive’ and Shinya Fujiwara provided me with whatever was missing from my personal archive for RTC. GTE was always going to be the cover that’d prove most contentious to meddle with but I was never personally in awe of the original plus I wanted to keep the series in a uniform monochrome. Nevertheless, if the original artwork had been available for the entire catalogue, I’d have sat this one out. To be haunted by one’s past isn’t as edifying as it might appear (?) As it was, we (mr Bigg, Yuka, myself) attempted to create a series echoing /in-keeping with the recent ‘dead bees’ release. We went the extra mile to give something we felt was worthy of our collective effort. It goes without saying, if you own original copies of the albums and you don’t like the approach we’ve taken, you’ve nothing to get bent out of shape about. Feels odd to remind people that purchases aren’t mandatory. As the creator of this body of work I have a personal take on what feels right to me regarding its representation. Although I’m not personally nostalgic, I do generally respect the the bond people make between image and audio (this must surely be the goal of art & design in this context). I’ve attempted to offer something that feels both contemporary whilst being true to the period in question.

There’ll be no further involvement on my part in future reissues. Should Universal choose to release any of samadhisound’s catalogue on vinyl, and I’ve requested they do, we have the artwork in place as was. (I believe requests for CD reissues will fall on deaf ears as it’s a dying medium. It would perhaps be of greater interest if hi res files were made available of the entire catalogue. Decisions of this nature fall outside my purview). We poured time and energy into creating something that’s a limited run for a minority audience. I do hope some of you get to enjoy it. happy holidays … ds x “


Dear Dave (in case he’s reading…)
That’s a beautiful response / riposte to me wondering / worrying / wandering about what happened to the artwork (Destroyed!? It was destroyed David? How dare they! You send me their names David, and I’ll build their gallows high)

But enough about aesthetics – I’m just chuffed to read that you got together with Yuka n Bigg to put this altogether (we’ll never agree on GTE though Dave – Yuka’s photography for the Silver Moon gatefold single was absolutely stunning and should’ve been used)

Small beer. I’m just glad your music (I can’t call it catalogue – sounds wrong) is back in print – I’ve been screaming your name into the darkness for decades now and…d’you know what? The last few years people have turned around and started to listen.

will kirkham

All have been released before why buy again…..

Nigel D Day

So, it doesn’t sound like they’ve remastered these, the covers aren’t great (One is particularly inappropriate) and there are no extras, or no bonus disk of rarities.

That’s some money saved. Cheers David.

How about vinyl copies of those Nine Horses albums ???


To me, the sleeve re-design is a 3-1 win: Brilliant Trees and Secrets of the Beehive elegantly improved, Alchemy fits in nicely (not sure about the album title appearing red in this b/w series though), but what on earth made Sylvian choose the car pic for Gone to Earth?

Recommended for Japan fans: Mick Karn’s first two solo albums on Virgin, ‘Titles’ and ‘Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters’, both still available in good condition for small money, the latter featuring two songs sung by David Sylvian.

Kevin Galliford

All great albums & “Gone to earth” & Secrets of the beehive” are nothing but exceptional. I’m more than happy with the quite recent CD reissues so won’t be buying these. I wonder what he’s going to do next but I can bet it’s not an album of so called “proper” songs which is what most of us here want!

Nigel D Day

I think you’ll find he has retired

Loren Neufeld

Geez, I can’t seem to wrap my mind on that: “…he has retired.” Bill Nelson is still producing something[s], albeit re-issues in tow. A Musician does not truly retire, unless one has/is become ill [health related], such as Joni Mitchell. Ah well…There’s a reasonable catalogue to still Listen to of David’s.

Jonny Jenks

Yassss! I’m gonna buy them anyway, Malone!


Yuka Fujii recently published Like Planets – her first (of the planned three) book of Sylvian themed pictures – the first one covering the Brilliant Trees / Alchemy years, though the last pictures in the book seem to suggest that it already moves on into the Gone To Earth period as well……(Sylvian with longer dark hair / with a beard).
There are some truly beautiful images in the book and some of those would be much better choices for such releases like Alchemy (with such characteristic / amazing original artwork).
Anyway, an abstract / landscape image would be much more suitable for that cover IMHO than the one they have chosen.

Kevin J. O'Conner

Two things I find intriguing about the David Sylvian vinyl reissues:

1. The prominent use of photos of the man on the covers. His 1980s solo albums deliberately played down the image that had been built up during the Japan days, shifting the focus to the music rather than the man; after Brilliant Trees, it wasn’t until The First Day that his image appeared on the front of an album sleeve (and then Blemish after that).

And I’m not sure we can pin this decision solely on Universal, as the Chris Bigg designs and Yuka Fujii photography (Ingrid Chavez on Dead Bees on a Cake) suggest Sylvian’s involvement.

Nor would it seem to be a licensing problem, as the original edition of Gone to Earth was released on vinyl, and the original Alchemy/Words with the Shaman artwork was used for the cassette, vinyl, and both CD editions (1991 Japanese reissue and the 2003 remaster of the version that was part of Weatherbox).

The Secrets of the Beehive cover design doesn’t quite sit right, unless Sylvian and/or Chris Bigg were secret Aube fans (suggested by the cover typeface). For me, the placement of artist and title throws the whole thing slightly off balance. (I would at least move it up slightly so that it aligns with the object in the upper left quadrant of the photo.) It also places it oddly outside the rest of the albums in the series—although I have always maintained that Secrets of the Beehive was a decidedly unusual Sylvian album at the time of its release—not at all what one would have expected after Brilliant Trees and Gone to Earth—from its primarily acoustic arrangements and the v23 cover design to the third-person narratives of most of the songs.

I just hope they refrain from further tinkering with the Rain Tree Crow cover. The change of typeface (for the band members’ names), the flattening of the color/texture, and the removal of that narrow strip of textured blue near the upper right corner of the original took away much of the impact of the design; it would be a shame to continue the downward spiral.

2. Sylvian’s apparent involvement in these reissues, particularly given his oft-mentioned disinclination to look back. Maybe it’s the turning 60 thing, but the man seems to be on a nostalgic tear these last few years—Hypergraphia, the Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music RSD single, both expanded vinyl editions of Dead Bees on a Cake, the Sylvian/Czukay reissue, the Like Planets photo book, and now this batch of his early solo albums.

His more recent efforts have been more focused on spoken word, experimental sounds, and even album artwork. I wonder if he’s maybe hit a musical dry spell, or, as the cancellation of his last tour suggested, run into health problems. Either of these, to my mind, would make the focus on reissues make sense—only instead of tinkering with the music this time (as he did with some of the tracks on Camphor and the remixed extras on the 2003 remaster of Gone to Earth), he’s chosen to rethink the album artwork.

Oh, and from the description, it appears that all of the albums are being released with gatefold sleeves.


I distinctly recall Gone To Earth being chosen (in a poll ?) as one of those releases that had the best overall sound quality on vinyl ever….so maybe a quality remastering job wasnt really necessary in that case……not sure about the others though.


I had a lot of problems with the original vinyl release of Gone to Earth. I swapped it at the record store twice and then stopped. They were all noisy at exactly the same spots. I just gave up. I was really pleased with the CD reissue, and I’m going to stick with that.

Kevin J. O'Conner

Re: the original vinyl edition of Gone to Earth

I also remember being a bit surprised at the amount of noise present. The US edition was much better—to my considerable surprise, since the quality of US pressings declined considerably in the 80s, what with shorter pressing cycles (which, sadly, appear to be the norm these days), use of recycled vinyl (in some cases, without removing the labels first), and the increased emphasis on cassettes and then CDs.


I think everyone seems to have the same first impression of the Gone to Earth cover. He’s attractive but it just doesn’t match the sound of the music. Still, count me in!

Are these simple repressings of the albums or did they use the remasters done in 2003? Either way, I played the originals to death and will relish in having new copies of them. Dead Bees on a Cake sounded stunning, and even cleaned up versions of these should be an improvement. That being said, Sylvian is an artist who deserves a special box set for each one of these albums. I’m not sure why Virgin hasn’t opted for that option or if they plan on doing that again in the future. I’m sure rabid fans would love expanded editions of these things. It’s also curious how they have not released Rain Tree Crow again, basically a Japan album under a different name…Hopefully that comes soon…

Secrets of the Beehive is one of my top 3 albums of all time (along with the recently reissued Kate Bush–Hounds of Love, another album deserving of a much larger box set and expansion treatment)…


I’m lucky to have the originals on pristine Japanese vinyl, but I’ll probably go for Alchemy, just for ‘Steel Cathedrals’. My first vinyl copy of Brilliant Trees (UK domestic) got a lot of play back in the day, as it was my personal ‘album of the year’ for 1984. But, just to be difficult here: the original mixes and vinyl releases sounded extraordinary then and still do now. It might fly in the face of popular belief, but not everything needs to be remixed and/or remastered. Now, if they get remastered for 5.1 surround, then I’m all in…

Derek Cornish

Of coarse these are not released in the States ……also….I hate the new Gone To Earth cover


This should have been done a year earlier. David was 60 last February.


Thrilled for Alchemy to get a reissue. It was never released here in the US and it’s easily my favorite Sylvian release. While usually I avoid reissues and go for the OG vinyl, I have acquired three used import copies over the years in search of a quiet, clean copy and they’re all noisy. Getting a fresh remaster—and with “Preparations for a Journey” and “Steel Cathedrals” on it no less—will be a treat.


Gone To Earth artwork sucks. Prefer the original.


I agree.


Yeah the wonderful original Russell Mills elemental, alchemical artwork suggested the album as a portal into some secret occult world, perfect for the music therein. Now it looks like he’s just waiting to pick up the kids from school.


Pretty much.

James Dawson

That “waiting to pick up the kids from school” comment was so funny that I not only laughed out loud, but read it to my wife sitting nearby for her amusement.

Roberto R.

I remember first time I come to London to buy records, I went to Opium Arts office, I wanted to buy the latest trophies book, but I was short of cash, I wanted to pay with card but they did not accept it so the give me it for free, I remmber the shelf full of DS cds and the painting of Gone to Earth framed…what a day

Woodsey Niles

I already have the wonderful Weatherbox CD collection so this isn’t a must have for me. This is yet another example of a myriad of box sets released only in LP format that I won’t be buying. Has the number of LP buyers really surpassed the number of CD buyers to justify this, or is the profit margin for LPs so much greater than CDs? There is a huge number of box sets I would rush to buy if they were released on CD that I will not buy on LP. Are hardy and dependable CDs already rendered obsolete by a format where the product can be permanently ruined by a single scratch? I’m just not that finicky about almost non-detectable fluctuations in sound quality between CD and vinyl. Even though I have over 3,000 LPS I am not investing another penny in that format. Does the music industry even care?


Completely agree with you; back in the 80’s the companies wanted us to change to CD, and now the CD lasts a long time and people are buying less of them…vinyl is reborn…pass.

cecil meulenberg

Oh, nice (visually), but (almost)redundant in audio?
Only some new remasters, remixed in surround, on a more recent formats, SACD, DVD, Blu-Ray, will give me sleepless nights.


Will these also be available via Amazon USA?


I’m guessing the change of artwork is a rights/user/licensing issue.

The original artwork for Brilliant Trees was by Sylvian and former partner / long-time collaborator Yuka Fujii, so it makes sense the photography has been retained.

The original Alchemy artwork was by Amanda Faulkner so I guess they couldn’t get permission. Incidentally Paul – this is only the second time that Steel Cathedrals has appeared on vinyl (it originally appeared on the Australian edition.

The Gone to Earth – artwork was by former collaborator Russell Mills so I guess they couldn’t get permission (?). Odd choice of photo though as Yuka Fujii did some beautiful shots for this period which would have been so much better: https://www.pinterest.ch/pin/499829258629817643/

The new Secrets of the Beehive art is interesting – all that’s been retained is the original still life photography of Nigel Grierson – all the v23/Vaughn Oliver design has been stripped away.

I’m not sure I need these but to have Steel Cathedrals on vinyl is tempting.


Have all the original vinyl releases already (and am not entirely won over by the new artwork) but have pre-ordered Alchemy for the wonderful Steel Cathedrals which sees its first outing on vinyl in this round of re-issues. So glad they included that.


I think that should be “Japan-reunion-in-everything-but-name” :)


I like the artwork, the sleeves are beautiful but I already have these albums on LP and CD (both original and 2003 remastered digipak CDs).

In 1989, these albums have been grouped together in the Weatherbox box set. I would be interested by a vinyl box set with some extras (a book, a DVD or blu-ray, a live album).
When Virgin released Weatherbox, they also made a 4 Track Promotional VHS with The Ink In The Well, Red Guitar, Silver Moon and Orpheus.

If Paul could start a project with Virgin (similar to the one he did for Paul Young’s CBS singles), it would be fantastic to have all David Sylvian’s Virgin singles and a DVD with all the promo videos and short films…Guaranteed I would immediatly buy that box set !

cecil meulenberg

Hell/heaven yeah. Paul can you moderate such a project?

alan hansen

indeed. and at least in this fashion, we could get those pesky b-sides like “blue of noon” which were not released on the remastered cd’s.


Yes please


Absolutely. There’s some edits/remixes of Red Guitar, Pulling Punches and Taking The Veil that should be made available again digitally if not on cd.


Yes indeed, a proper singles/dvd box-set…
Still various single versions haven’t been released onto CD and/or in digital format:

01. Bamboo Houses (7″ Edit) [Sakamoto/Sylvian release]
02. Bamboo Music (7″ Edit) [Sakamoto/Sylvian release]

03. Red Guitar (7″ Edit)
04. Weathered Wall (Instrumental)
05. Pulling Punches (7″ Edit)

06. The Women At The Well
07. The Women At The Well (Version)
08. Showing The Wound (A Will To Health)

09. Taking The Veil (Julian Mendelsohn 12″ Version)
10. Silver Moon (7″ Edit)

11. Buoy (7″ Version) [Mick Karn release]

12. Let The Happiness In (Special DJ Edit)
13. Blue Of Noon
14. Buoy (Remix)

…and probably a few more.

Steve W

I have all of these in one form or another and I have to say I prefer the original artwork with the exception of the previously released Dead Bees which was an obvious buy because it actually extended and remodelled the original album.

I honestly don’t think I’m enough of a completionist to bother with rebuying them just so they fit together nicely. Sorry David.


These Albums are all superb. But these Re-Issues are a bit meaningless. No remastering, no extras. They are all easy to get on Secondhand Vinyl in good condition. So why should I buy Gone to Earth just for a picture of Sylvian sitting in a (nice) car?


It’s just money. Vinyl is a cash cow. Most stuff will be reissued while the fad lasts


Getting hold of a decent copy of Secrets Of The Beehive isn’t cheap. I know because I’ve been looking for one for ages. Not sure about the others.

Chris Squires

For me, Secrets of the Beehive is one of the most complete albums ever made. There is no weak link and the whole thing just flows beautifully. I am trying to think of another album by another artist that ticks so many boxes. It is without flaw and certainly without peer in Sylvian’s canon.

Gone to Earth has it’s moments, particularly Silver Moon which is sublime and as beautiful a song as anything on Secrets….

Personally I do like the new artwork, it would have been nice if there was a good shot of David to be used for Secrets… I wish other artists wouldn’t be so afraid of using their old images to highlight re-issues cough *Kate* cough. My copies of secrets are very well worn and this will replace those nicely. I guess *NO* audio work has been done then? Not remastered, just re-issued as they were originally? That’s fine, they always sounded superb to me, but as Ms. Bush has just shown even excellent albums can benefit from being revisited.


I have read many of your posts and it is obvious your a smart guy. In your mind why is it that acts like this are almost completely unknown in the USA. I just listened to the beehive record on youtube and it is very consistent with high-quality songs all the way thru.

Chris Squires

Hi J

That’s what I would call a “Hospital Pass”. No one is coming out of that question unscathed…. but I will give it a go. (with apologies to our American friends).

There are a million things I don’t know about America and even more things I don’t know about music but one thing I think I do know about the USA is it’s media loves (has?) to be able to label something. It has to know where something fits and it isn’t very forward in playing stuff (Music or TV) than cannot be easily pigeon holed. Even if it is crossover, thinking of George Michael here and Wham! to Faith. All at around the same time that Japan were winding up (at least in a releases sense as they were already done as a functioning group) and Sylvian was branching out as a solo artist. In fact I have always thought that there were more similarities than differences between David and George but that is for another day. Back to the question, the radio stations were easily able to place Wham! and just as ready and able to place George although the recent documentaries did focus on the placing as an R&B artist rather than a pop artist it still enabled them to Pigeonhole him. I don’t think anybody has been able to ever pigeonhole David Sylvian or to that matter Japan. It’s obvious that people tried to stick them with the New Romantics because of the way they looked but everything was out of sync. The image and the music of Japan didn’t fit with the pigeonhole at any one time. The new romantic label was being foisted on them and what a perfect song to do that with…”Quiet Life” a perfect new romantic song that is up there with the best of them… the problem was it was already two to three years out of date by the time it was a substantial hit and David had moved beyond that to Ghosts through Nightporter. So when the Solo career started and the pigeonhole was again needed and it was now “Pop” David comes out with Brilliant Trees and Red Guitar that sits very uncomfortably on Top of the Pops (31st May 1984 pop pickers) with The Smiths, Madness, Hazell Dean, Elton John, Ultravox and Wham!).

So that’s my answer, nobody could pin David down, even in the UK where it is easier to succeed outside the box, by being different, he lost a lot of his newly found followers. I recall Orpheus being played on The Steve Wright Radio show, prime time mid afternoon in the UK. It is the most beautiful song and here it was getting major radio 1 airtime. Except in the powerful silence at 2.25 Steve Wright decided now would be a good time to play a succession of sound effects from Mel Blanc, diving warplanes, explosions, car crashes, pub piano sounds etc. before re-starting the song song 20 seconds later. Funny? Maybe, but not what a serious artist wants done to what is probably amongst his finest recorded work.

It was basically too much hard work for the average listener or average DJ to “Get” Sylvian so they didn’t bother. As with anything that is difficult perseverance brings massive rewards and those that stuck with him will love him for ever more.

There are plenty of artists with sizable careers in the UK that never translated to America, foremost would be Kate Bush, again how the hell do you pigeon hole that?

Derek Cornish

Well, you ARE right about us Americans not making David Sylvian a household name here…but THIS American has been a fan since the early 80’s and you’d be surprised how many of my friends thought Secrets Of The Beehive was a masterpiece….he did get some college radio play here ( I was one of the DJs that played him on Long Island ….)

It is a shame not more us us here could put him over the top though


David Sylvian, maintained a popularity in the UK by the base he built from Japan, which did nothing in the USA, but his image was too scary, the music was not so obviously geared to girls, so who was this guy in makeup singing to? Not something that someone in a car wearing a cowboy hat driving in the desert could relate to. Was he New Age, World Music, Adult Contemporary, he was definitely not pop/top 40/bubblegum like Wham!, who were the embodiment of pop, and not the remodeled top 40 sleaze pop of Faith era George Michael. When George Michael decided to go artsy in America, he definitely paid a price. In some respects, Seal owed a lot to Sylvian in his brand of adult pop, albeit, his albums had singles with a much more pop intention and his singles were club ready. As for Kate Bush, she paved the way for Tori Amos, Bjork and Lorde, her biggest failing in the USA is that she stopped making records in the 90’s when alternative broke and she would have been hailed as the great influence to many artists who had gone mainstream. I know for a fact that people wanted to work with her and she was not returning their calls.


Just a friendly clarification:

Cowboys do not drive cars. They drive trucks & ride horses. There is not enough headroom in a vehicle to wear a cowboy hat. Here in Texas Sheriffs, DPS, and non-municipal lawmen must wear 10 Gallon hats while on duty. Usually, the hat is placed either on the passenger seat or on the rear gun rack


Thank you. Excellent point. Music in the USA is filtered on the coasts (LA, NY,etc.) and it’s kind of like that Tom Petty song “..A&R man said I don’t hear a single..”. In the early 70s, US AM radio would play Black Sabbath, Dolly Parton, Queen, Wayne Newton & Barry White back to back. The ultimate mix list way ahead of its time. Then came the liberal classification of all things cultural.
Here on the border, they used to have X Stations in Mexico that broadcast all types of music. The first time I heard Closer to the Edge it was hard to believe this music even existed. Very enlightening.
The overwhelming part of the USA is rural. If you really want a treat try google maps and look at ALL the pics of Marfa & Terlingua TX.
Thanks very much again


Post Japan, David simply wanted to focus on his art and put his commercial success second. His solo albums are not those made by someone seeking top 10 singles, and he was far the richer for it (not financially of course). He had a solid following through Japan that he was able to maintain and build upon through a very credible body of work throughout his varied career. He was of course a cult artists with a very devoted following for most of his post Japan years.
Funny the mention of George Michael. George was of course keen in theory to focus on the music post Faith, but became conflicted and wanted his cake and to eat it to. His work was also patchy toward the end as he tried to stay relevant and seemingly dumbed down his music for radio play.
Both artists were managed by Simon Napier-Bell, who had the misfortune of both bands splitting up at the high of their success. I attended the launch of his book in London early 2000s, and asked him what were the similarities between George/David. He said “nothing”. George said I don’t care what you do, just make came the biggest star on the planet. David said, can’t I just be a small star?
George made the money, but David enabled himself the ability to realise his potential and escape the trappings of fame; George never came close to fulfilling his full musical potential, and of course had personal demons that were partly due to the trappings of fame.

Chris Squires

Thanks for that really good insight Andreas. Nicely summed up. Happiness over money is a circle most artists struggle to square. That David mostly managed it whilst making some utterly gorgeous music is the holy grail.

Yani P

Amen to that

Secrets is one of those perfect musical moments – peerless in my opinion

Annabel Lecter

I loved what Universal did with Dead Bees On A Cake, both the RSD and standard release, but I’m in agreement with JuzzyB that the original Gone To Earth sleeve was a better album cover.

Nice to see Mr. Sylvian’s Virgin years receiving this attention. I’m hoping we’ll also see Japan’s Oil On Canvas get an up to date deluxe vinyl release. If Sony’s watching, it’d be good to have a 180g update of Assemblage to complete the set too.


Gone to Earth is a great album. Not sure that a picture of David sitting in a car is a better cover than the original, though.


I think they are all great albums. – especially Beehive and Brilliant Trees. I’m somewhat surprised that Sylvian is going for photos of himself for these reissues as I thought he had long since gotten past his self-image obsession.

At least they have not changed the cover of Beehive which I always thought was a perfect depiction of the music contained within.

Now where are those Scritti reissues….

Chris Squires

Ha, but Trash…when you looked like that you can afford to have a *bit* of self-image obsession….. I bloody would have and so would half of us middle aged, bald, fat wannabees.


Chris I can’t disagree with you on that :-)


That car picture does nothing for me. I wonder if the original art was lost or destroyed and all that was left was lo-fi because, back in 2003 who in their right mind would have ever expected anyone to reissue this on a large format like vinyl, and thus the new art for the vinyl. I personally do not find that kind or revisionism to be very useful, unless it is for a pragmatic reason.
Perhaps if it were an alternate exposure or different shot of the original art, that would be different, but to me, his work was about creating an atmosphere that was separate from the dude with a name and car keys, more enigmatic, rather it looks like something from a David Sylvian calendar, perhaps an inner sleeve, or a bonus disc from a boxed set containing alternate takes and b-sides. I wonder what happened.

alan hansen

but -SG-, it’s a picture of an obviously very pensive and artistic dude with a name and car keys. could be worse, DS could have changed the title of the album to “gone to ground” – to match the new artwork, of course.