Monday, February 03, 2003


Album: ‘Darshan’
Artists: Robert Fripp and David Sylvian
Audio CD: 3 December, 1993, re-pressed 2001
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Virgin SYLCD1

[Shiva] bestows wisdom and peace and is not only terrible but profoundly benign. [His] nature at once transcends and includes all the polarities of the living world.
Darshan, from ‘Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization’ by Heinrich Zimmer (Princeton UP, 1946).

One from the vaults that turned up during a clear out, this: but still very much alive and available. Suspended implausibly somewhere between the impulsive energy of Hungarian folk melodies, the Mediterranean colour of world trance and the drone echoes of post-rock, 'Darshan' anticipated many subsequent trends in articulate and artistic vernacular musics. The main piece is as it occurs on the album ‘The First Day’ (this is an EP), along with an slightly shorter (16”) alternate take. The main added interest, with hindsight, is the ambient re-construction by those archetypal urban sprawlers, the Future Sound Of London ('Darshana'). While duo FSOL have now re-emerged from silence in the hippydrome (after their industrial experiments ground to a halt), Robert Fripp has been soundscaping his way around the planet and lands back on earth shortly courtesy of the latest King Crimson offering, ‘The Power To Believe’ [see also the EP calling card, ‘Happy With What You have To Be happy With’] . The collision of these two quite distinct musicians on this EP, album and tour was clearly a fortunate one. The collaboration with David Sylvian, who is as interested here in the blended instrumental texture of the voice as he is elsewhere in the colour of words, works effectively. The different accounts of the basic thematic material provide several features of interest and many points of departure. A pleasing reminder of the early '90s 'Road from Graceland' era. Trey Gunn (grand and tenor sticks), David Bottrill (treatments, sampled percussion, computer programming), Jerry Marotta (drums, percussion), Marc Anderson (percussion) and Ingrid Chavez (vocals) join the explorations.

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