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Watch new raw video from the recording of David Sylvian’s first solo record, Brilliant Trees.
When the UK new wave/synth-pop band Japan split in 1983, they were at the peak of their popularity. Creative differences sent the members in different directions, and the frontman and principal songwriter David Sylvian finally had the license to explore more esoteric sounds. Sylvian released his first solo record Brilliant Trees a year later, and for it he pulled in his sonic kindred spirits. Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jon Hassell, Holger Czukay, and Mark Isham traveled to Berlin to help craft Sylvian’s vision. Luckily photographer Yuka Fujii had the foresight to visually capture these greats as they supported the transmutation of a pop idol into a brilliant artist.
The edited video was recently posted 36 years after the release of Brilliant Trees, and with it comes a written introduction by Sylvian himself. The essay provides necessary color that highlights the enchanting disbelief at seeing these iconic figures in a recording studio together. Czukay, co-founder of Can, performs his analog alchemy while sitting on the floor with Sylvian at one point. In another notable moment, Sylvian is side-by-side behind a grand piano with good friend Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra. Sakamoto knew little English when this was filmed, so much of their communication took place by way of musical instrumentation.
What makes this 40-minute video a mandatory watch, though, is the extended cut of Hassell, who recently passed away. The father of fourth world music engages in lengthy dialogue about Indian music theory, among other topics. He goes on to record his signature electronically modulated trumpet, and it howls into the infinity where he now rests.