[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/polaroids_sylvian_smash84_3023.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Suave.]]

'''David Sylvian''' (Born David Alan Batt in 1958) is an [[UsefulNotes/{{Britain}} English]] musician who may be best known for appearing in the Music/NewRomantic / Music/GlamRock band Music/{{Japan}} in the late '70s to the early '80s. After a bit of a falling out with his band following some inner tension between members (some of which was reconsiled with a reunion under a different name in 1991 in the form of Music/RainTreeCrow), he pursued a solo career, which has since gained a respectable cult following. Sylvian has also dabbled in poetry, visual art and photography. He has been photographed by Creator/AntonCorbijn (who also produced some of his music videos), and has collaborated with [[Music/YellowMagicOrchestra Ryuichi Sakamoto]] (more closely in his solo material) and with Music/KingCrimson guitarist Robert Fripp (their efforts combined produced two albums in the early to mid '90s). Sylvian was married to Music/{{Prince}} protégé Music/IngridChavez from 1992 until 2003.

His solo works represent an artistic "evolution" (if you will,) as Sylvian proceeded to dispose of the flamboyancy, get a hair cut, and adopt more [[BaroqueMusic Baroque]], Chamber and {{Jazz}} influences that slowly began to resemble the latter-day, sophisticated Art Pop works of artists like Music/PeterGabriel or Music/TalkTalk (with a little bit of Avalon-era Music/RoxyMusic thrown in for good measure.) This is particularly present in 1984's Brilliant Trees; but he took an even more stripped-down approach in 1987's "Secrets of the Beehive," which extracted the electronics from that album and the soundscapey "Gone to Earth," and replaced them with lush string, violin and piano arrangements. After some collaborations and a twelve year (!) wait, he made a comeback in 1999 in the form of "Dead Bees on a Cake," which took a slightly darker, more {{Ambient}} approach to his classic pop leanings.

David takes a very serious, crafty approach to music, but it's always all-around artsy. He's also known for being a bit of... a hermit. Don't expect him to come out of hiding unless it's for something important.

Discography:

* ''Brilliant Trees'' (1984)
* ''Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities'' (1985)
* ''Gone to Earth'' (1986)
* ''Secrets of the Beehive'' (1987)
* ''Dead Bees on a Cake'' (1999)
* ''Blemish'' (2003)
* ''When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima'' (2007)
* ''Manafon'' (2009)
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!!Tropes:

* BiTheWay: David mentioned in the '80s that he had slept with men as well as women, but he didn't have much interest in sex. Many thought he was gay when he would wear makeup in Japan's early days, so this doesn't come as much of a surprise.
* CoverVersion: With Japan, he covered "Don't Rain on My Parade" by Music/BarbraStreisand, "All Tomorrow's Parties" by Music/VelvetUnderground, "I Second That Emotion" by Music/TheMiracles and "Ain't That Peculiar" by MarvinGaye. Early on, the band often performed a cover of Music/TheRollingStones' "Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)" live and recorded an unreleased studio demo of it, as well as recorded unreleased cover versions of Velvet Underground's "Venus in Furs," Music/BobMarley and the Wailers' "I Shot the Sheriff," Music/TheIsleyBrothers' "This Old Heart of Mine," and an unreleased Music/{{Chic}} cover believed to be "Le Freak."
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: The first two Japan albums, and to an extent ''Quiet Life'', feature David using a rather different vocal style to his later smoother work. Also, the first album ''Adolescent Sex'' is very guitar and synth heavy, with lyrics predominantly about dancing and comparing relationships to political events (something that was very popular in glam rock). Sylvian's appearance was rather different then, with long dyed blond hair and makeup (the other members of Japan had similar styles, because Sylvian wanted to make the group stand out.)
* FollowTheLeader: Sylvian himself was heavily inspired by the Music/NewYorkDolls, Music/DavidBowie and Roxy Music. Asian and jazz influences influenced him more and more as he went on. His detractors constantly mention the Roxy Music influence. Music/DuranDuran were heavily inspired by Japan and are often considered to be their spiritual successors. The band were recording their self titled debut near where Japan were recording ''Gentlemen Take Polaroids'', and rumour has it that they chose that studio just so they could meet the band.
* NewSoundAlbum: All of them, but the two that are particularly worth mentioning are the Japan album ''Quiet Life'', in which he shows off his deeper voice, ballad and Asian influences for the first time, and the solo album ''Blemish'', which began his current experimental career.
* SurrealMusicVideo: His work with Creator/AntonCorbijn.
* TakeThat: When a then-career-spanning box set called ''Weatherbox'' was put out, Virgin Records demanded for a new hit single to go with it. He came up with "Pop Song," which consists of a unconventional mallet-on-piano-strings bass part, and a synthesizer set on flute that is flying across the keyboard with two open palms.
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