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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Manafon' (Samadhi Sound UK)
Artist - David Sylvian

Japan were a British pop/rock group, formed in 1974 in Lewisham, South London. The band achieved success in the late 1970s/early 1980s, and contained a couple of soon-to-be music legends in their ranks: Mick Karn and lead singer, David Sylvian.

And having released solo albums before, now, after what seems an eternity since his last effort, we get 'Manafon'. But, after listening to it (several times now), there seems to be a split in the camps of the listeners: 'Manafon' is either a semi-realized album, a demo if you will, perhaps even a low-hi mysterious meld of thoughts; or 'Manafon' is that remarkable album that comes at the end of every decade.

Me, well I tend to side with the latter group. I think Sylvian's latest musical offering shows him to be one of the most creative musicians since the late nineties.

With 'Manafon,' Sylvian takes many more steps into the directions set by immersions in sound and improvisation mapped out by "Blemish" and "Naoshima". His recent collaboration on "Cartography " by Arve Henriksen includes a few pieces that revealed some of these techniques within more conventional musical settings.

But 'Manafon' goes on to more radical ends, with a heritage that must acknowledge the highly staged "Orpheus, The Lowdown" by Peter Blegvad and Andy Partridge and the remarkable body of work assembled by Bryan Day and his "Shelf Life", "Eloine" and other improvising units.