David Sylvian
Secrets of the Beehive


5.0
classic

Review

by fireaboveicebelow USER (108 Reviews)
May 25th, 2009 | 44 replies


Release Date: 1987 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A fathomless mastery of musical textures

David Sylvian is what you would call the genius in the shadows. Since the 70’s he has been involved in numerous underrated projects, let alone collaborating with such artists as Robert Fripp, Bill Frisell, Jon Hassell, and Marc Ribot just to name a few. His childhood was more or less music-ridden and has self-taught himself playing and composing since he was 12. That’s exactly how the nigh absence of outside influence attributes to unparalleled individualism. Each record differs from his next, and nothing sounds uninspired or washed up. Putting all of that aside for a moment, Secrets Of A Beehive, whether or not you remotely care about anything else Sylvian has been associated with, is fluidly, hauntingly, overbearingly, but more importantly, merely powerful. And nothing less.

Weaving between each string arrangement and acoustic free fall lies a broken soul. Sylvian’s assuring and soothing voice never regrets to lament to you of your dismal life, but within the lyrics and music emulates more than just senseless despair. The lack of explanation with language makes describing an album like this almost a futile attempt, however the record breathes on its own, allowing another to speculate on the marvels of the atmosphere instilling visions right in front of you. Throughout the individual elements each song displays the album plays through as collective, cohesive, and extremely conscious thoughts that resist the outside influence of tactless depression, but rather influenced by an aura of emotion beyond depression, spiraling through stories amidst keyboard effects and minimalistic drum pulsations in the order of how you want to pass through rock bottom.

No sound is here without reason and immaculate arrangement of instruments in songs such as When Poets Dreamed Of Angels and Let The Happiness In, regardless of how much or little the songs retain, never fail to get their point across, as if each song is a sort of lesson of mind that willfully continues on its own as you unconsciously wander along. The lyrics are merely accompaniment for the music, adding just that much more icing on the cake, and because of this, the vocals either allow plenty of breathing room for the music to do as it will, well illustrated in the extreme jazz stylings of Mother And Child and the hollow and cataleptic Forbidden Colors, or they switch roles, letting the lyrics tell the story as the music harkens the flame to give that much more sensibility to the song, such as in Orpheus and Let The Happiness In.

Secrets Of The Beehive doesn’t come full circle as a stream of consciousness for the sole reason that these sort of expressions do not cease and this leaves one with a bittersweet outlook on this experience, more bitter than sweet as the metaphor of the album title may reveal. The album is the epitome of conscious depression, and basically started the sound of Red House Painters and the like before “slowcore” was even a genre. If you are one who does not appeal to the likes of sadness, this is probably not going to hit you very hard, but will still be enjoyable at the least. For everyone else...welcome home.



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
May 25th 2009


7353 Comments


THis album is great and this guy is serially underrated/unknown on this site. Personally I prefer Brilliant Trees (which I'm gonna review soon), but this album is a close second - the atmosphere on it is captivatingly haunting. Great review btw.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2009


15743 Comments


dave de sylvia

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

YouAreMySilence
May 25th 2009


3727 Comments


Goodish review but I don't really get what it sounds like.
I'm probably just a little slow though.
What are some albums similiar to this?

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2009


15743 Comments


members also liked:

lostprophets

devsol
May 26th 2009


347 Comments


still need to give this a listen, will do asap

fireaboveicebelow
May 26th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks for the comments guys

Goodish review but I don't really get what it sounds like.
I'm probably just a little slow though.
What are some albums similiar to this?
I tried to make it apparent in the review that this was somewhat eclectic minimalism, it's hard to say though. And I didn't do a rec list like I always do because frankly I don't know something similar to this

kygermo
May 26th 2009


996 Comments


I keep thinking this dude is Korns old drummer.

Spare
May 26th 2009


5313 Comments


bahaha look at this dude's band pic

Wizard
May 26th 2009


19524 Comments


Was this Review Well Written? Yes | No

Hell YES. I think I just gave up on my Neurosis review while reading that. Fuck...

I keep thinking this dude is Korns old drummer.

You're about 3 days late on making that joke....

This sounds worth my time.




Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

fireaboveicebelow
May 26th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks wiz, but by all means please write the review I need to read up on that band more and who better than you to guide the way...and yes it's worth your time I hope

morrissey
Moderator
May 30th 2009


1688 Comments


Great pseudonym

Tyler
Emeritus
May 30th 2009


7926 Comments


morrissey sighting

fireaboveicebelow
May 30th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

that was exciting...and yeah I don't know how he came up with the name Sylvian

by the way can anyone explain this

dave de sylvia

I agree.


Ghostechoes
March 1st 2010


1353 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

David Sylvian is awesome, amazing voice. Unfortunately, he is "serially underrated/unknown on this site."

Gyromania
October 7th 2010


15941 Comments


It's a shame, because he's easily one of the most talented artists around.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
December 18th 2011


15052 Comments


people who like talk talk or whatever listen ot this

KILL
July 4th 2012


71965 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wow this is rly gd wo9fh

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

Anthracks
July 4th 2012


3764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hes ok. hes better at respecting good art than creating it himself

Digging: Radio Moscow - Magical Dirt

Ethics
November 10th 2012


4112 Comments


:' )

ethixx
February 4th 2013


1170 Comments


album is brilliant




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