DAVID SYLVIAN

PEOPLEText: Anthony Augendre

Is there an easiest aspect to develop? Is it easy for you to write the lyrics that reflects your feelings?

It’s not difficult to write a song. It’s very easy to sit down and just write for the sake of writing. What is difficult is to write a piece of music that has relevance to you the writer and that resonate to some perform way in your life. And that’s the difficult part. But the music and the words seem to come relatively easy when the time is right. There’s not a struggle generally. The writing stage is probably most exhilarating by the whole process and it tends to happen quite naturally, quite quickly.

Do you that your compositions are a timeless music? You don’t care about the last trend, the superficial aspect of music industry and what you could have done it five years before or maybe ten years after?

It’s hard for me to say. Could I have made this album five or ten years before the answer is no because of the subject matter. Experience did allowed me to write about the subject matter. So that place is at a moment of time for me. I do try to create a music that the individual can adapt in their own life in some ways. In other words this album is clearly autobiographical but I wouldn’t want people to come to the album to view that melly autobiographical. That is not a strength I would be a witness I think. The point is I try to leave the piece open to such an extent that the individual can adapt the work to their own life. At that point the work takes a life on its own and in that sense it gives a new life every time somebody becomes attached to it. That would make it timeless. If people over and over again came into contact with the work and breathe new life into it through having communion with the work. We have to approach work in an inspired way. As listeners, readers. It’s not a passive act. That has the power to make it timeless.

Your musical path is full of musical encounters. What was the most important one?

Every encounter has a certain quality. I would say is important to me. Some encounters grow and mature with a period of time. I had no idea when I met Ryuichi in 79 I still be working with him 20 years later. We work well over the years, yes, and consistently. I see the partnership going on into the future. But it’s always strange, each time could be the last time we collaborate really. We don’t look to one another as collaborative partners that intend to going. Our collaboration has matured over the years and continue to evolve. And yeah he is becoming the most important collaboration that I have musically.

What about Holger Czukay?

Holger is a dear friend. I benefited it from working with him enormously I think. Yes improvisation, that would have been the first time I touch upon it. I touch the notion of improvisation in the context of my work. When I worked with Holger that area of work just grew in significance for me because it is obviously an area he’s been working for many years or had been working for many years with Can or his own project. So his improvisation methods of writing and recording became very fascinating for me and influenced not just the project we did together but the Rain Tree Crow project that followed on. And still influenced the work that I do in some degree. That’s the main experience that I have taken away from working with Holger.

You’ve been involved into plastic arts. You did exhibitions with Russell Mills. He realized his first musical experience on Time Recording, you did collaborate on it. Do you think that its a natural process that gives opportunity to musicians and plasticities to work both on sound and pictures esthetic?

Yes I think it’s quite natural to cross over these days. It’s quite a challenge. I’m sure Russell found a challenge to work as a musician. Because he’s really not a musician. Given the opportunity to make an album is too good to refuse. He came out with the concept that would work for him. It’s the same way as myself and the visual arts. Suddenly you are offered an exhibition base, it’s not something you plans. But there you are you are given the opportunity to create an installation and you didn’t turn your back on it because it’s just a too good opportunity to turn down. This area of work I don’t actively see. I’m really happy to work in music because I work so slowly. There are so many ideas, so many pretentious projects that get left behind. In a sense there is not enough time to complete all the work that I want to do in music. Should somebody come to me tomorrow and offer me an exibition place, I would not refuse it cause it’s too much of a challenge for me. I really enjoy working in the visual arts. It’s a challenge to create and develop a vocabulary of mine. I see Russell doing the same thing in music.

Read more ...

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.
Chih-Yang Chen
MoMA STORE