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An extension of David Sylvian's penchant for experimentation and collaboration, Wandermüde sees electro-acoustic artist Stephan Mathieu remix Sylvian's 2003 album Blemish. The project was originally intended to produce an ambient score for a new digital application that Sylvian was working on to showcase his photography. David Sylvian s experimental breakthrough Blemish sees a new interpretation in the album Wandermüde, by the remarkable electroacoustic musician Stephan Mathieu. Working from the instrumental source material, Mathieu brings us a new experience of the most stirring textures and darkest thoughts from this pivotal album.
Like everything else he does, musical iconoclast David Sylvian's idea of a retrospective compilation is very different from the norm. Sleepwalkers is a 16-track, hour-plus collection focused on his many collaborations during the previous decade. Included are alternate takes from his own albums, remixes, reworked material and his contributions to the albums of others. There is one new cut, pointing to the future: "Five Lines" with Japanese composer Dai Fujikura, is a complex art song with a string quartet. (According to Sylvian, Fujikura is working with him on a completely new, orchestral version of Manofon.) This new piece is one of the many highlights.
Alarm Will Sound's recording of Steve Reich's monumental orchestral/choral works The Desert Music and Tehillim, released on the Cantaloupe label in 2002, greatly benefits from the group's close connections with the composer: the ensemble's conductor, Alan Pierson, and several of the performers studied at the Eastman School with Brad Lubman, a conductor frequently enlisted by Reich. Also, Pierson's arrangements, which reconcile the chamber and orchestral versions that exist for both works, were prepared in close consultation with the composer; thus, this may well be the definitive recording of these pieces. Brilliantly sonorous in their climaxes – the burst of light near the end of Desert Music, the "Alleluias" that close Tehillim – the players also articulate Reich's intricate canonic textures with nimble precision. Voices and strings are always an Achilles heel within Reich's percussive textures (leading him to eliminate part doublings in favor of giving each line to a lone, amplified performer), but here the singers and strings maintain an impressive rhythmic vitality. This knack for precision carries over to the pristine recording, as well, which, for good or ill, was digitally recorded and heavily edited. Still, it makes up in energy and clarity what it might lack in performative spontaneity.