David Sylvian

Received Do You Know Me Now box set by David Sylvian today and there was a replacement cd for disc 4. I found that tracks 2 and three are badly distorted and wondered if anyone else purchased this set and have the same issue.

On the Steve Hoffman forum:

I’ve emailed the supplier and maybe will get another replacement disc 4 as both sound bady distorted.

That’s actually not a defect. Glitch was popular at the time the “World Citizen” single was released, so the crackles and distortion you hear on both “World Citizen – I Won’t Be Disappointed” and “World Citizen (Ryoji Ikeda remix)” are intentional.

The mastering error DOES involve that remix, however. On the original disc 4, the audio cuts out at 4:09, with the rest of the track silent; the full track is present on the replacement disc.


I can’t see that being right as it’s just not listenable it’s so bad but now I’ve listened to disc 1 and is very crackly as well. What’s the point ?

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This is deliberate;

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Admittedly it’s a bit heavier than on the original Japanese single, but it is intentional. So is the same/similar effect on the Blemish album. These crackles and distortions were all present on the original releases.

Ryuichi Sakamoto used glitching on his 2004 album Chasm, which includes a version of “World Citizen – I Won’t Be Disappointed”.

It’s no coincidence that both artists also worked with Christian Fennesz, who has also used glitch techniques in his music.

What’s the point, you ask? That’s going to depend on the artist. For some, it might be introducing imperfections into an otherwise pristine digital sound environment (not unlike adding noise or film-like grit to digital photographs); for others, it might be finding ways to make malfunctioning equipment work for them. I imagine you’d get a different answer each time you asked the question.

In Sylvian’s case, I’d posit that it’s a combination of the new musical connections he’d started making (e.g., Fennesz, Toshimaru Nakamura, Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M) and using crackles, noise, and distortion to reflect/enhance the subject matter (i.e., on Blemish, the disintegration of his marriage).

Apparently, I can’t post links, but you can find more on the topic by doing a search for “glitch (music)”.


Yes, Sylvian’s post break up music has been described not incorrectly as uneasy listening although personally I really like it.
The distortion and atonalness are deliberate.
At least he’s exploring different ground and not knocking out Ghosts to drunk punters at a Butlins ‘80s weekender.

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