25th September

September 25, 2003

Cold steel, concrete and stink. Ah, London!

Courtesy of the nice Mr Jansen and Ms Zornes, I go to the Royal Festival Hall to see David Sylvian and Steve Jansen perform.

Before the gig, myself and the Lord chat merrily over tea and cakes with Richard and Suzanne Barbieri. Along with the No-Man reissues, One Little Indian are also keen to see the reappearance of ‘Flame’, an album I recorded with Richard in 1994 which hasn’t been around since.

Myself and Richard discuss some ideas related to the reissue as I reflect that 2004 now looks certain to be the year of the constant repeat for me.

‘Groundhog Day’ for the terminally depressed.

The gig is probably the best I’ve seen of DS since his 1988 tour (which featured the powerhouse improv duo of David Torn and Mark Isham creating an ever-shifting backdrop to the songs). Mostly comprising the stark, textural experiments of ‘Blemish’ and some unreleased pieces, the bulk of the show is a 21st Century distillation of what’s been good about Sylvian’s work since the atmospheric splendour of ‘Ghosts’. The set finale, a new song featuring a sample from Arvo Part, is a particular highlight.

For me, the low points of the set are the mundane and loungey acoustic re-interpretations of some of his classic Japan and solo work, with my least favourite moment being a slightly turgid ‘Jean The Birdman’.

Somehow it felt, quite rightly, that the enthusiasm was all wrapped up in the new work, with the majority of the gig pointing to a bright re-birth of Sylvian and Jansen’s creativity and the potential for some great future sounds.

A post-gig chat with ‘the prince of posh’, ‘the sons of Sheffield’ and Mr Jackson and his lovely wife and I’m East Anglia bound once more.