Everything and Nothing
David Sylvian’s music is thoroughly European. The arrangements, melody, and lyrics offer glimpses into a land that few Americans would recognize. The tracks on this disk call to mind quiet evening hours strolling along the Seine, or exploring the side streets of Vienna as dusk descends. I find it difficult to place what particularly separates his music from others; what element that allows it to rise above other singer-songwriters. It could be his choice of musicians. On this album, selections include Ryuichi Sakamoto, Bill Frisell, Robert Fripp, and Mark Isham as performers. Then again, it could be the style of Sylvian’s voice. The music has a jazzy, sensual quality that matches the smooth vocal delivery with which Sylvian sings. This lush and dreamlike music combines with Sylvian’s rich imagery and poetry makes a remarkable combination. In fact, it is the blend of these elements that at times overwhelms the listener. Each track is so magnificently crafted and perfect that you don’t feel capable of listening to this disk in its entirety. The listener wants to prolong the joy and richness for as long as possible. Listening to this two-disk compilation of outtakes, guest tracks, and rarities is like being invited to a rich, sumptuous banquet. You want to taste everything. But not quite immediately and not just yet.