David Sylvian - Manafon
Critic Score
Based on 8 reviews
2009 Ratings: #655 / 895
User Score
Based on 13 ratings
September 14, 2009 / Release Date
LP / Format
Samadhi Sound / Label
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Manafon is a quiet yet forceful stunner, a recording that, if heard, is literally unforgettable.
The Guardian
Sylvian's subjects are life's loners and losers, and he regards them with a wry detachment and acute sympathy that is echoed by his collaborators.
No other singer is making music this bravely untethered to tradition. Though you know he'll some day move on, you want Sylvian to explore this eerie, expectation-subverting world forever.
The counterpoint between his smooth musings and the poignantly economical backing is quite striking, and respect should be paid to an ambitious production that includes some of the globe’s most noted improvisational artists.
The Observer
Think Scott Walker punching a side of beef, and know that here's another who's wandered off the path of teen pop success to find a world that's far more interesting (if far from easy listening).
Record Collector
If you cherish him singing a drop-dead gorgeous melody, look elsewhere.
Slant Magazine

Manafon is far too preoccupied with unadorned stillness to be considered listenable. Its spaces of hollow inaction are far too big, and the concessions it expects of its audience far too large for so little payoff.

Tiny Mix Tapes
It's a sonically ambitious undertaking — and miles beyond what many of his peers in the late-70s post-punk scene are currently doing — but ultimately, the album gets lost in its own conceit.

If 'Blemish' was one step towards completely deconstructing Sylvian's established song writing form then 'Manafon' has no problem taking the second step, sweeping Dorothy up and sending her hurtling away from Kansas desperately clutching onto Toto for dear life.

These tracks feel more like collages and landscapes, Sylvian the magpie piecing together parts of these performances that interested him and adding other elements later, most notably the vocals. In this regard he was careful not to ... read more

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Contributions By
wallver, patton, erik, domvic, Lyell
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Track List

  1. Small Metal Gods
  2. The Rabbit Skinner
  3. Random Acts of Senseless Violence
  4. The Greatest Living Englishman
  5. Spheres
  6. Snow White in Appalachia
  7. Emily Dickinson
  8. The Department of Dead Letters
  9. Manafon

Year End Lists

#36/The Line of Best Fit
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Added on: March 29, 2015