On the Periphery: David Sylvian – A Biography: The Solo Years
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At last, the definitive biography of David Sylvian is available. This book — which has taken 3 years to complete — tracks the period of Sylvian’s solo career from 1982 to 2015. As well as being one of popular music’s most innovative and influential composers, Sylvian is an enigmatic and complex man, and the musical, personal, and spiritual journey he has undertaken over the last three decades is profoundly fascinating. The book begins as Japan — the band that Sylvian fronted in the late 1970s and early 1980s — broke up. As Sylvian embarked on his solo career, few would have appreciated the extent to which innovation and improvisation would become the central focus of his work. From popular music icon to respected free improv performer, the journey has been anything but linear, and the book shows how all aspects of Sylvian’s life, his personal development, his spiritual growth, and his musical evolution all inform each other, and knit together to make for a rich and complex story. The book unravels this complexity, and sets out for the reader countless areas of interest and surprising insight. So whether your interest is in the detail of the musical process or lyric meaning and hidden messages in a particular composition, or you are more interested in a detailed analysis of the composer’s personal and spiritual journey over the last thirty years, this book will open your eyes. Written by Chris Young, On the Periphery is a thoughtful and extensive work, and it has been thoroughly researched, the author travelling to the United States, Japan, Europe, and the U.K. to gather intelligence, and talking to numerous Sylvian collaborators to seek out the pieces necessary to put the jigsaw together. In addition, through analysis of hundreds of TV, print, and radio interviews, Young manages to use Sylvian’s words to effectively tell his own story. A highly creditable and insightful addition to the pantheon of music biographies, and a must for anyone with an interest in one of the world’s most respected singer songwriters.