David Bowie







    1947 - 2016.

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    Sylvian Connection
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    David Sylvian Dvds @ amazon.com (direct link)

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    DAVID BOWIE ~ Sylvian Connection

    18th Jan. 2016: Well a week has passed since the death was announced on this musical genius and so much has been written and televised that little old me can add little, if anything though I did find all the tweets and tributes from the great and the good rather empty, without soul, and told us more about those writing them than the man himself. I just don't think you can capture such a man with a few sentences no matter how clever the sentences sound. Anyway I thought I would mention it in relation to Sylvian and Japan.

    1) I find it interesting to note that Sylvian and Steve Jansen were growing up just a mile or so away from Bowie when he lived at Haddon Hall, Beckenham. I wonder if they were like Boy George and would travel there as fans just to catch a glimpse of him?

    2) I think the genius of Bowie was his ability to absorb influences and make them his own. This has been done for centuries from classical to the present day. George Harrison once said that without The Shadows there would be no Beatles. Bowie was a master at it; he used those influences to constantly re-invent himself. You can see it with Kraftwerk and Bowie's 'German Years'; you see it with the Philadelphia soul of Young Americans; and you see it with drum'n'bass of Earthling. just a few examples, I grant you.

    Combining this with the fact that despite leaving school with just one qualification (O-level art) he was remarkably well read means you have someone who had the tools to make a myriad of influences his own.

    But what of Japan? Could they have been an influence on Bowie? Well, China Girl has been played heavily this week and just listening to it I wonder: could it have existed without Tin Drum? China Girl is Bowie but I see there is a connection or at least a massive coincidence.

    Conversely, I suppose Japan's Burning Bridges owes something to Warsawa. Low, Heroes and Lodger lead to Gentlemen Take Polaroids and finally to Tin Drum and Oil on Canvas. Sylvian's sublime first solo album, Brilliant Trees was recorded in the same studios in Berlin where a few years earlier Bowie gazed out of the window and saw his Viscounti on his tryst under the shadow of the Wall and inspiring the lyrics to Heroes. To many of us that came a generation after Bowie, Sylvian was our Bowie and remains so but without him could there have been a Sylvian? I really don't know the answer to that question.

    Maybe it's just me but regardless, I'm surprised that music journalists don't pick up on the fact just how influential Tin Drum has been. The shimmering flavour of the East has never sounded so good. Catchy, China in a three minute pop song - you hear rifts from Tin Drum in so much music from then to the present day.

    A re-evaluation of their work has been overdue for years. Give them their due; it's about time.

    I may be bias. Don't forget this is a man that puts all Japan's work as more important than Sgt. Peppers. And I include Adolescent Sex in that list!

    Maybe Japan were influenced by Bowie; maybe the 'influence' was reciprocated.

    But Bowie, well, there will never be his like again. Would we want it anyway? It would only be plastic Bowie.

    Only he could re-invent the Bowie way.
    David Bowie Just a Gigolo
    Still from the movie, Just a Gigolo

    Did You Know?: The 1978 movie saw the reappearance of the legendary, the iconic Marlene Dietrich after years of retirement, secluded in her Parisian apartment. $250,000 had tempted her out for two days work. Though she and Bowie shared a scene they never actually met. Bowie was on a world tour by the time the scene was shot so, obviously, they had to film the scene seperately and splice it together.

    The final masterpiece, the album from here and from beyond: Blackstar, CD, vinyl & more available @ amazon.co.uk (direct link to Blackstar)





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    David Sylvian Dvds @ amazon.com (direct link)

    David Sylvian Books @ amazon.com (direct link)




    David Bowie

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    Japan Rarities Index

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