David Sylvian Camphor

This two-CD set might best described as a master jam of obscure instrumentalists. The former head of '70s/'80s new wave set Japan, Sylvian has kept himself busy for the last couple decades collaborating with many musicians of varying musical backgrounds. Here, he shares with us the products of these efforts. Most notable of the legions of contributors are Ryuichi Sakamoto, former Japan bassist Mick Karn, Talvin Singh, Holger Czukey (of early experimental act Can) and guitarist Robert Fripp (King Crimson). Disc one is as varied as one would expect it to be, considering all of the outsiders' input, and goes everywhere from acid jazz to ambient to world. Fripps' prog rock guitar in "Wave" suggests a new age Pink Floyd, while Karn's bass treatment reminds us of his and Sylvian's "Japan"-ese roots. Despite Camphor's lack of voices, Sylvian does establish his presence by sharing his warm and subdued vocals on "The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection." Disc two is comprised of three songs - "Plight," "Mutability" and "Premonition" - and although kind of long, they do give us a taste of the improv side of songwriting for which Sylvian has a penchant these days. Whether or not it was Sylvian's intention, this is a great wine sipping and contemplating life type of record. Very mature, indeed. (Virgin)