Hey Hey Neighbour – Nine Horses – Snow borne sorrow

17 09 2008

In 1986 when my life was simpler, and bizarrely more difficult than it is now. Long before a CD had ever made it into my creationist system, one of

David Sylvian's 1986 masterpiece

my favourite bits of music was David Sylvian’s “Taking the veil” on 12″.

It was played regularly along Mad Professor and Yello, “Taking the veil” was a piece of music that was best appreciated in an “enhanced frame of mind”. Since then, although i have occasionally bought something by Mr Sylvian, nothing that has made has ever really captured my attention like “Taking the veil” had.

Then about a month ago, courtesy of Last.fm and a very tedious call at work. I chanced across an album he released a couple of years ago. It had the dreadful and pretentious title of Snow Borne Sorrow and the band was called Nine Horses, it did not auger well! It was of course the fact that there was a copy going cheap on Amazon marketplace that clinched it.

When the digipack arrived it then transpired that Nine Horses comprised of David. his brother Steve Jansen, Teutonic machine and rhythm scientist, Burnt Friedman (who is the owner of the Nonplace label, home of The embassadeurs, Flanger and lots of Burnt Friedman releases!} In addition to this backbone of fartiness.. Stina Nordenstam, Ana Ternehim, Ryuichi Sakamoto and others that i have never heard of contributed. It looked like it was going to be right royal supergroup of pretentiousness.

Nine Horses album

Nine Horses Snow borne sorrow

If anything felt and echoed 1986’s “Taking the veil” it was this album. From the very first bars of Wonderful world, the sublime jazzy backbeat, double bass, orchestra and hypnotic backing vocals i was drawn in.  The production, melodies and the surreal Sylvanian lyrics are intoxicating.

It’s a wonderful world
And you take and you give
And the sun fills the sky
In the space where you live

It’s a day full of dreams
It’s a dream of a day
And the joy that it brings
Nearly sweeps her away

It’s a wonderful world
As the buildings fall down
And you quicken your step
’til your feet leave the ground
And you’re soaring above
All the sorrow below
And you’re falling in love
With those you don’t know

And your heart feels so wide
And your heart fills so strong
It was never a place
That you felt you belonged

It’s a wonderful world
Full of wonderful things
And the people fall down
And abandon their dreams

The first three tracks in particular are in my ever humble and intensely subjective opinion his best work ever. Track 3 The “Banality of evil” felt like heaven on earth? It had Steely Dan horns and wacca guitar bits and ooooh pace. It made me want to get enhanced and be a teenager with an Ariston RD 80 record deck.

Within hours it was on iTunes and was being inflicted on the family and visitors in an oppresively regular manner;)! In the kitchen, in the car, in the office, in the living room.. only the shed and garden were sanctuary for those who did not believe.

Unfortunately, a neighbour from a couple of fields away made a rare evening visit and promptly left with the digipak to burn onto his erm Sinclair ZX-81 .. The neighbour in question, who seems to think that working on the eastern seaboard of the States for the last month, is some kind of excuse for the non-return of this beautiful item, is sorely mistaken. I have taken his family hostage and until it has been returned in the condition it was stolen (sorry borrowed).. I shall not release them from their shackles and fairly regular diet of Lidl pop tarts, Fleisch Salat and Netto instant gravy granules. hmmm now how did i get there?

As David sings on track 3 – the suitably titled “Banality of evil”.

Hey, hey neighbour
King of the castle
Room at the top
Off with their heads
Chop ’em off

Next post.. possibly this year? will include a life enriching recipe for fleisch salat and the happy hostage release pics…

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