Sunday, 5 May 2013

Albums for Life: 10: David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive

I'm waiting on the empty docks
Watching the ships come in
I'm waiting for the agony to stop
Oh, let the happiness in

I'm watching as the gulls all settle down
Upon the empty vessels
The faded whites of their wedding gowns
The songs of hopeless selflessness

The cold December Sun
A cold that blisters
The hands of a working man

Listen to the waves against the rocks
I don't know where they've been
I'm waiting for the sky to open up
And let the happiness in
'Cause it's coming, coming home

OK, I'm under the sheets with a torch and a box of rich, dark chocolates.
I'm unsure as to why this album takes me there, but it never fails to do so.
I'm in my lair enveloped by, what might possibly be the most beautiful sounding contemporary music I've ever heard.

'Secrets of the Beehive' might lack the luxuriant luster and diversity of 'Dead Bees On a Cake' but it's a more coherent, focussed work. 'Dead Bees'...' sumptuous, otherworldly jazz tones eventually work against it for me, the 'chops' over reach and overwhelm the songs towards the end of proceedings. The effortlessness of 'Secrets...' seems more of this world; indeed of the earth. It cuts its cloth more modestly but is no less elegant. Stylistically it's lean, languid and just perfectly pitched. The intro to 'Let the Happiness In' is blessed with the most mellow of tones; sombre and strangely soothing. The horns remind me of Gil Evans; Mark Isham's trumpet is quite lovely. I'm unsure why I'm posting the lyrics (above); to me it's almost as though Sylvian is singing in a foreign language. Although his is a gloriously rich voice I don't really engage on a lyrical level; I know that he's speaking of lofty things but it's the exotic timbre of his voice and the sound of his heavenly music that lifts, transcends and then... brings you gently back to earth.
The word 'organic' is oft bandied as a label for natural, acoustic warmth. This music actually smells and tastes (yup) like earth to me.
So, I'm under the sheets, stuffed with truffles, floating on these glorious sounds and... smelling earth!
Makes perfect sense to me...

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