Thursday, 26 August 2010

Epic choonz: David Sylvian & Fantômas

As my first post here for quite some time, I'm gonna give you another one from the more difficult corner of my music collection. This couple of albums that may interest you are, as the title says, 'epic choonz'. In English, these are two albums which are comprised of one insanely long track each. Here we go then...

David Sylvian - When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima (2007)

1. When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima - 70:23

As the first epic I'm going to leave you with in this post, I'll be tossing a rather nice and very rare David Sylvian piece your way. While you may have heard his voice over some glammed-up new wave in the guise of Japan (probably his most famous work of all), and maybe a song like Red Guitar or Forbidden Colours, you should know that there's a whole different side to his songwriting, that being his various experiments with minimalist ambient music, often with the help of Can's Holger Czukay, the Future Sound Of London or King Crimson's Robert Fripp among others, often by himself. This here, originally commissioned in 2006 as an installation piece by the Fukutake Art Museum Foundation on the island of Naoshima (Japan), is probably about as left-of-centre as Sylvian's work in that (or perhaps any other) field got.

It's hard to describe this album as anything other than the the lame, allmusic-esque words I'll put in the tags regarding this (ambient, avante-garde and minimalist if you want to know), but overall I'd say it's among my favourite of Sylvian's releases. There's no hook that lasts throughout the whole length of the track, as there would be in most other ambient music. It's more of a 70 minute fluctuation of heavily-treated voices, sampled recordings of the environment of Naoshima itself, off-kilter synths, the occasional bursts of distorted guitars or brass, all melded together into one long, very minimalist and chilled whole - just get hold of it, whip out a good book, stick it on and find out for yourself I guess.

Fantômas - Delìrium Còrdia (2004)

1. Theatre Of Operations - 74:17

And as for the second epic I'll be leaving you with, here's one of the more hidden little treasures from Mike Patton's insanely varied musical career - a man I'm sure you've heard of before in some form or other, be it as the lead singer of Faith No More, Peeping Tom, Mr. Bungle or whatever. I haven't had as good a dig around his back-catalogue as I'd like to have done, but from having heard a good propotion of it I can say that, along with Mr. Bungle's mighty Disco Volante, this is probably as 'far out' so to speak as Patton's ever been.

So, like the David Sylvian album above, this is another obscure effort from a famous singer and songwriter and, also like the David Sylvian album above, it's as far removed from the kind of music you'd expect to hear from the famous singer and songwriter in question. Again, there's a lack of any kind of hook to reel you in, but in its place is a much more intense, unsettling and very dark atmosphere, drawing on a diverse range of genres including ambient, drone, metal, easy listening and so on. It's an album-long track with a specific concept as well but in this case, rather than it being something as quaint as the Japanese island of Naoshima as above, the concept is that of surgey without anesthesia (hence the single track's title). It's basically a horror movie soundtrack - one which uses sudden loud noises, nonsensical chants and screams, eerie instrumentations and a very creepy, dark ambient atmosphere to create such a brilliantly intense series of musical movements. It's just a labyrinth of highs, lows, mellow patches, scares etc.

Creepy stuff. Listen to it in the dark and enjoy!


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