David Sylvian

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        Manafon (Deluxe Edition)
        C D   /   D V D


          Manafon Deluxe Edition

        • Release Date: 21 Sep 2009
        • Type: Audio CD (21 Sep 2009)
        • Number of Discs: 2
        • Label: SamadhiSound


        Manafon (Deluxe Edition)
        David Sylvian

      • When the Manafon deluxe edition was released in September through Sylvian's record company, SamadhiSound, if I remember correctly the first 2,000 worldwide contained a print of David Sylvian signed by both Sylvian and the artist Atsushi Fukui. Thereafter the deluxe edition contained the print but not the signatures.

        So when buying and if the signatures are important to you be careful in what you buy.

        I have put a link here to amazon.co.uk who are carrying the release. The description there is wrong as it is not limited to 2,000 and I think the edition there is the one without the signatures. Best bet when buying is towards the top right of the description there is a 'More Buying Choices'. Click it and you will come to what is known as 'Marketplace Sellers'. These are individual traders who sell via amazon. Now each should have a description of the product they are selling and within there will be whether it contains the signed print or not. Commonly, the edition with the signed print is termed 'Ist Edition' and without the signatures '2nd Edition'. If there is no description then take it that it is the '2nd Edition'.

        Regardless of which edition it's a beautiful set and I might be mistaken but both now no longer being made.


        This two-disc box set comes in two separate (18.7cm x 24.1cm) hard back, cloth-bound volumes which are themselves inserted into a cloth-bound rigid slip case. Each of the three cloth-bound items feature gold embossed lettering. There is an accompanying (18.5cm x 23.5cm) black on white high quality print of a portrait of David Sylvian by Atsushi Fukui.

        Volume One: a 40 page full colour printed, perfect bound book to accompany Manafon, featuring the complete lyrics from Manafon, accompanied by artwork from the artists Atsushi Fukui and Ruud Van Empel. The CD is the standard version of Manafon. Track listing here.

        Volume Two: a 24 page full colour printed, perfect bound book to accompany the documentary Amplified Gesture. With a foreword by Clive Bell, this book contains photos and biographies of all of the contributors to the documentary. The DVD is an NTSC Region 0 disc that contains: Amplified Gesture - a documentary (duration 55 mins approx), plus Manafon audio in 5.1 dts surround sound mixed by David Sylvian PCM Stereo (48 kHz, 24 bit).

        Amplified Gesture is directed by Phil Hopkins and produced by Sylvian. The documentary features the musicians who took part in the recording of the album and they discuss their lifelong obsessions with experimentation and improvisation. Released only as part of this edition.

      • Buy CD | For details of the standard release please click here


        Manafon & R.S. Thomas
        RS Thomas: The Man Who Went Into the West

        May 18th, 2011: Caught a fascinating documentary last night on the life of the poet R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) (from whom Sylvian drew inspiration for the album), his travels and parishes in Wales (including Manafon), and his haunting but challenging poetry ...

        rs thomas

          RS Thomas

        It was on BBC 4 and entitled: RS Thomas: The Man Who Went Into the West. I can't find it on BBC iPlayer but keep checking it by clicking here in the hope that it will appear. The most fascinating part of the docu. for me was hearing his son talking about his complicated relationship with his father.

        The BBC blurb reads thus:

          When Byron Rogers decided to write the biography of RS Thomas, he knew his subject was a man of contradictions. After all, the 'ogre of Wales' wrote some of the best love poetry of his time. But Rogers's journey to uncover the man behind the stone face was unexpectedly humorous. In this documentary, he recreates that journey, meeting Thomas's friends and parishioners and his only son Gwydion, who talks candidly about his relationship with his father for the first time on television. He also recalls some extraordinary moments such as the time Richard Burton and Liz Taylor requested a meeting with Thomas where, at the rather awkward lunch that followed, the poet quizzed Taylor on her favourite types of flat fish. Contributors also include the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the poet Twm Morys.

        Imagine Richard Burton (the voice of Wales) in the same room as Thomas! Oh, to be a fly on the wall...

        The poetry is austere, deep as the Wales caverns he traversed and yet, suddenly, in fleeting moments, it is naked in a beautiful simplicity. These words I just can't get out of my head, as though it is kissing 'time':

          'We met under a shower of bird-notes. Fifty years passed, love's moment in a world inservitude to time. She was young; I kissed with my eyes closed and opened them on her wrinkles. `Come,' said death, choosing her as his partner for the last dance. And she, who in life had done everything with a bird's grace, opened her bill now for the shedding of one sigh no heavier than a feather.'

          ~ From: A Marriage by R. S. Thomas

        A wife of fifty years passing away. 'Young', 'her wrinkles', time passing, time spent. 'Come' is the calling card and with a shallow sigh she is gone. That is it. Nothing more. Life erased in a blink of eye.

        I find his words unforgettable; my words obviously clumsy in comparison as though I attempt to grapple with the outlines of his poetry and the words slip away from my grasp before I can totally understand them.

        I don't think you need to know R.S. Thomas's work to fully appreciate Sylvian's Manafon. Sylvian would know better than anyone that for a work to stand alone it has to succed on its own merits and I think Manafon succeeds in that respect with ease. But for me finding the poetry of Thomas has enriched the spiritual journey when listening to the album. They go hand-in-hand and I discovered depths of the the poetry I couldn't have actually discovered if it wasn't for this piece of work. I have included a couple of amazon links below for essential reading.

        As a side note I find it interesting that the BBC commissioned this work on Thomas. Throughout Sylvian's career he has brought artists who have influenced him to a new audience who wouldn't have necessarily known or even found their work. I'm thinking of Frank Auerbach with Oil on Canvas (I recall Auerbach years ago talking of how that album had brought new people to his work and how it had interested his son, Jake), Yukio Mishima with Forbidden Colours, Jean Cocteau and Angus McBean with Brilliant Trees, Amanda Faulkner with Alchemy: an Index of Posibilities, Kundera, Beuys, J.G. Bennett and, possibly, Powell & Pressburger with Gone to Earth ... the list could go on and on ...

        Is it a coincidence that a surge in interest in the work of Thomas comes on the back of the release of Manafon. Or that the interest in the UK of the above mentioned artists, writers, filmmakers increased after Sylvian namechecked them? I doubt it.

        But I don't think Sylvian will get the credit for it.

        Available @ amazon.co.uk:
        R. S. Thomas: Selected Poems | The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R.S.Thomas

        © Paul Page, 2011


          1. Small Metal Gods
          2. Rabbit Skinner, The
          3. Random Acts Of Senseless Violence
          4. Greatest Living Englishman, The
          5. 125 Spheres
          6. Snow White In Appalachia
          7. Emily Dickinson
          8. Department Of Dead Letters, The
          9. Manafon

          UK 2009
          cd ss016 dx


      • AVAILABLE: amazon.co.uk (uk) | amazon.com (us)

      • MANAFON: vinyl - amazon.co.uk
      • DAVID SYLVIAN: rarities
      • DAVID SYLVIAN: amazon.com store


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