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David Sylvian: To Blow the Heart Wide Open

Nenad Georgievski By

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AAJ: How involved are you in Samadhi's day-to-day business?

DS: Currently I am very hands-on in every aspect of the business. I am the engine which drives it.

AAJ: What is the artistic direction/aim of Samadhi?

DS: Samadhisound is a place both real and virtual for the meeting of minds and shared creativity. It is local and it is global, a breeding ground for ideas and new directions in music and the arts. This is one possible future for the company. I tend to believe that Samadhisound has a life of its own, aspects of which are revealed to me as and when appropriate. I tend to intuit what the next step in its development might be. I may have a personal preference for the directions it may take, but ultimately I try to listen and follow.

AAJ: One of the artists who has released an album for Samadhi is David Toop. I'm interested; what do you make of his books like Ocean of Sound, Haunted Weather or his other writings?

DS: David is one of the best writers on music that we have in this country. His works display an evolved awareness of the art of listening, which, accompanied by his breadth of knowledge of the history of different genres of music, sound art, noise, etc., informs much of what he's published. His works are never less than fascinating, and frequently filled with penetrative insight into the sound worlds with envelope and absorb us.

AAJ: What are the main difficulties that accompany an independent label entirely devoted to experimental music?

David Sylvian—Nine HorsesDS: Your assumption that the label will be entirely devoted to experimental music isn't correct. It's my intention to release music by artists working in a variety of different genres. The difficulties, however, tend to be the same regardless of the nature of the work: how do you notify the general public of the work's existence, and how do you get people interested enough to give it an hour of their time? If we managed to solve those issues to some extent, I think we'd be doing well.

AAJ: What have been the greatest rewards you have experienced running Samadhisound?

DS: Outside of my own work, creating the visuals for the respective releases with Chris Bigg. As art director, I locate the images and create the initial rough layout of the package. Chris then takes things a step further with the design element. Chris is a wonderfully collaborative designer. Enthusiastic, flexible, with multiple variations offered on any given idea or layout.

I've also enjoyed gathering together the global community of artists with which we've worked. In other words, I'm deeply involved in the creative side of things, and that's where my satisfaction lies. I'm also involved in the business side of things to some extent, but the team which manage the label are trusted partners, and I'm happy to delegate responsibility in whichever department I can if I am convinced of an individual's capabilities.

Selected Discography

David Sylvian, Manafon (Samadhisound, 2009)
David Sylvian, When Loud Weather Buffed Naoshima (Samadhisound, 2007) Nine Horses, Money For All (Samadhisound, 2007)
Nine Horses, Snow Borne Sorrow (Samadhisound, 2005)
David Sylvian, The Good Son vs. The Only Daughter (Blemish remixes) (Samadhisound, 2005)
David Sylvian, Blemish (Samadhisound, 2003)
David Sylvian, Camphor (Virgin, 2002)
David Sylvian, Everything and Nothing (Virgin, 2000)
David Sylvian, Dead Bees on a Cake (Virgin, 1999)
David Sylvian, Approaching Silence (Virgin, 1999)
David Sylvian/Robert Fripp, Damage:Live (Virgin, 1994)
David Sylvian/Robert Fripp, The First Day (Virgin, 1993)
Rain Tree Crow, Rain Tree Crow (Virgin, 1991)
David Sylvian, Weatherbox (Virgin, 1989)
David Sylvian and Holger Czukay, Flux + Mutability (Virgin, 1989)
David Sylvian and Holger Czukay, Plight & Premonition (Virgin, 1988)
David Sylvian, Secrets from the Beehive (Virgin, 1987)
David Sylvian, Gone To Earth (Virgin, 1986)
David Sylvian, Brilliant Trees (Virgin, 1984)

Photo Credits

All Photos Courtesy of David Sylvian


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