New David Sylvian biography, focusing on his solo years, available now

New David Sylvian biography, focusing on his solo years, available now

On the Periphery: David Sylvian — A Biography, a new biography of David Sylvian, once known as Japan’s head aesthete but with a prolific solo career capable of overshadowing any band’s work, has hit the shelves. The book, written by Christopher E. Young, covers the 1982-2013 period, focusing exclusively on the English composer’s solo years. It provides a look into Sylvian’s solo career, numerous collaborations, and creative pursuits, as well as offering a window into his personal evolution. Sylvian was not directly involved in the writing process at all, though; Young worked from pre-existing interviews, media clippings, and his own research.

The biography opens when Japan, the proto-New Romantic group Sylvian lead from 1974 to 1982, were breaking up, and charts the journey that took Sylvian to the elegant, idiosyncratic music he’s been creating ever since. A big draw has to be the extraordinary array of musicians Sylvian has collaborated with along the years. Perhaps his longest-lasting alliance is the one he’s kept with Ryuichi Sakamoto, a kindred spirit who also moved from synth pop (YMO) into textural, abstract solo work; they were already starting to play together during the Japan years. Anyhow, Sylvian’s highest-profile collaborator ought to be Robert Fripp, with whom he has recorded several acclaimed albums. That said, a shortlist with some of Sylvian’s collaborators is a thing to behold: John Hasell, Holger Czukay, Derek Bailey, Fennesz, Evan Parker, John Tilbury, Otomo Yoshihide, Rusell Mills, Hector Zazou, Blonde Readhead, etc. If anything characterizes Sylvian’s work, through these collaborations and beyond, it’s the enigmatic yet welcoming landscapes his music evokes, crafting a jazzy, complex albeit warm sound which prefigured the British strand of post-rock that later blossomed in groups like Dif Juz, Talk Talk, or Bark Psychosis.

The book is divided into three parts: the first going from 1982 to 1987, the second comprising 1988 to 2002, and the last one devoted to Sylvian’s activities from 2003 on. Some excerpts are available on the book’s website, as well as its Facebook page. The latter doubles as a David Sylvian appreciation community, where Young and fellow fans share all things related to the musician. The book can be ordered here.

• David Sylvian:
• Samadhi Sound:
• Sylvian’s Biography site:

The Bug plans North American tour in support of Angels & Devils, traveling buddies include Wolf Eyes, Actress, and Manga

Back in 2008, I had a radio show at my university’s station. One time I played “Angry” off The Bug’s London Zoo because that song is sick. I remember halfway through, some local joker called in to yell at me. He wanted me to turn off the trash I was playing and turn on something that rocked. Every now and then I wonder where that guy is today. I like to imagine him playing a Neal Peart-sized drum kit in front of a packed house in his Green Day cover band The Nimrods. I wish him well.

Fast forward six years and we’ve got us a brand-new full-length from Kevin Martin’s The Bug project to talk about. I wish I could call that guy up and tell him about it, but alas, the station didn’t have caller ID back then, and also that was six years ago, and given the number of drugs and alcoholic beverages he’s no doubt ingested over the course of his career as a successful coverer of the collected works of Armstrong, Dirnt, and Cool, he probably wouldn’t even remember me. Anyway, the album is called Angels & Devils, and it’s out August 26 on Ninja Tune, though it’s been in the works since at least 2012. The record features collaborations with a bunch of folks who, if they were snacks, would definitely make my mouth water, including Liz Harris a.k.a. Grouper, Death Grips, copeland, Warrior Queen, and more. You can pre-order it here.

But, of course, you already knew all of this thanks to TMT’s very own Jrodriguez6. How about some new information that, if it were a feather, would make your foot tickle like a riot? Well then: Mr. Martin is taking his The Bug show on the road. He’ll be joined by the likes of Manga, Flowdan, and the trip-metal kings themselves, Wolf Eyes. The former two will also feature on Angels & Devils. The dates are below in all their glory. Neat! You can also peep “Function” featuring Manga and “Void” featuring Liz Harris below, because, in other “new news,” those tracks are now streaming. Double neat!


10.08.14 - New York, NY - Output ^$
10.10.14 - Boston, MA - Good Life ^
10.11.14 - Detroit, MI - The Works ^
10.24.14 - Guadalajara, Mexico - ENSAMBLE *
10.25.14 - Mexico City, Mexico - Mutek MX *
10.26.14 - Austin, TX - Barcelona ^
10.28.14 - Denver, CO - Cervantes ^
10.29.14 - St. Louis, MO - 2720 Cherokee ^
11.01.14 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent #^
11.03.14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echoplex #^

^ Manga
* Flowdan
$ Actress
# Wolf Eyes

• The Bug:
• Ninja Tune:

Deadbeat is crowdfunding a box set with three career-landmark albums, shares stream

Unsung Canadian dub/techno experimentalist Deadbeat a.k.a. Scott Monteith has just started a crowdfunding campaign to reissue three of his most lauded albums on vinyl. Last month he announced an Indiegogo campaign to put out a box set including remastered versions of his long-out-of-print LPs Wild Life Documentaries (2002), Something Borrowed, Something Blue (2004), and New World Observer (2005). Monteith is aiming for the reissues to arrive in time for the 10th-anniversary celebration of his third album with ~scape, and you can help him raise the necessary funds until August 26. He has decided to compile these three albums as the box set since they’re all out of print, were released through ~scape, and constitute a trilogy of sorts, having been recorded during Monteith’s fertile Montreal residence (he’s currently based in Berlin).

Monteith’s usual collaborator Stefan Betke will remaster the albums, which will be presented as a trio of double LPs, pressed on vinyl and including a handful of previously-CD-only tracks. Although the campaign is pretty much a glorified pre-sale, as is customary for these affairs, there are some sweet rewards in store if you decide to contribute. So, if you’re generous enough, Deadbeat may come to your own house, hand-deliver the box set, and even play a private gig. The three albums are streaming at Deadbeat’s SoundCloud page (embedded below), in case you haven’t heard them before or want to carefully consider the decision.

Aside from bringing some very interesting albums back to the spotlight, this is Monteith’s chance to claim his rightful place in electronic music’s recent history. These three albums are worthy experiments on melding techno, dub, and postmodern ambient music. It’s true that Deadbeat’s always had one foot firmly planted on Detroit techno classicism. But just when his music seems ready to soar into deep-techno realms, the Canadian reins it back in, making that struggle the vibrant center of most of these three albums’ tracks. Deadbeat’s also quite a bit more explicitly linked to traditional dub music than the dub-influenced post-grime-boom UK DJs, who often deny trying to make dub music “on purpose,” despite the ample evidence thereof; so expect to hear plenty of spectral echoes and deep-vacuum drops here. Monteith rounds everything out with an elegant minimalism that was quite in fashion back in the early-to-mid-2000s, but has fortunately aged quite well.

The crowdfunding campaign is open now, until August 26. The exact date for the box set’s release is, naturally, yet to come. You can chip in here.

• Deadbeat:

Free jazz legend Cecil Taylor swindled out of $500,000 by traitorous contractor

Noel Muir should be ashamed of himself. The 54-year-old general contractor from Uniondale, New York recently swindled the legendary jazz pianist Cecil Taylor out of nearly $500,000 in prize money, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday.

Japan’s Inamori Foundation awarded Taylor the Kyoto Prize last year and invited him to Japan to collect the prize and attend an award ceremony. The Kyoto Prize honors “those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural, and spiritual betterment of mankind.”

Working on an apartment next door to Taylor’s Brooklyn home, Muir befriended the pianist. By the time of the award ceremony, the two were close enough that Taylor had Muir assist him with travel preparations and accompany him to Japan. Taylor even went as far as allowing Muir to arrange the wiring of the prize money.

Here came the betrayal. Muir had bankers send the $492,722.55 to his own account, claiming it to be the account for The Cecil Taylor Foundation. This was on November 20. By the time investigators got on the case, the account was empty. Muir could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

Oh me oh my.

Here you can watch Taylor’s rather mesmerizing statement as Kyoto Prize Laureate. And below you can watch the free jazz frontiersman bang out sublime sound with his fingertips circa 1981.

• Cecil Taylor:
• Kyoto Prize:

Surgeon makes use of his scalpel, preps earlier material for reissue

Electro-techno musician Surgeon a.k.a. Anthony Child is putting some of his earlier material under the knife. The somewhat-invasive procedure requires re-cutting and remastering recordings with the help of Dubplates & Mastering engineer Christoph Grote-Beverborg, but don’t worry — both these guys are pros with steady hands. The prognosis is pretty good!

Child discovered six volumes worth of early material while rummaging through some old digital audio tapes.

“I was shocked to find how clear and dynamic many of my early tracks sounded,” he wrote on his blog.

The tracks were originally recorded by “people who had no understanding of electronic music,” Child said, including an engineer who was so “disgusted” by Surgeon’s music that he had to leave the room until the cut was finished.

The six volumes include one showcasing rare tracks from 1994 and 1995, and another full of unreleased tracks from 1995 and 1996. Pet 2000, the Surgeon and Dynamic Tensions EPs, and Communications will also be released on the new imprint SRX. Child commissioned New York designers Kein Meier and Yoonjai Choi, from the Common Name firm, to provide artwork for the sleeves. (Surgeon also has a brand-new single out on Token this month.)

If all goes as planned, the series will be released on September 15. Here’s hoping the operation is successful.

• Surgeon:

Zemi17, father of the Gamelatron, releasing 12-inch EP on The Bunker New York

So here’s something pretty damn cool:

Aaron Taylor Kuffner is a composer and sculptor who reached notability through his Gamelatron Project, which is basically a huge, unmanned, MIDI-operated orchestra of Balinese and Javanese instruments that’s performed at a wide range of venues across the world from 2008 to present.

Before the Gamelatron Project, however, Kuffner made music under the name Zemi17. Zemi is Japanese for cicada and 17 references the 17-year lifespan of an average cicada in the United States. So yes. Gamelatron put Zemi17 on the back-burner, but NYC label The Bunker, after discovering a recording of a 2012 live set, requested Kuffner put out a 12-inch under the name.

And so he will. Zemi17’s techno- and gamelan-fusing Impressions EP will drop on vinyl and digital formats on September 1. And hey, suck on this: each 12-inch is infused with insects, birds, motors, and gongs. Oh no that’s not what I mean!! I mean each track is a collage of those sounds!! That’s okay, it was a miscommunication!!!

There are clips of the EP’s two tracks below, both of which extend beyond 10 minutes in full. There’s also a tracklist, just to be formal. And there’s a pre-order link here, just to be nice.

Impressions EP tracklist:

01. Impressions
02. Rangda

• Aaron Taylor Kuffner:
• The Bunker: