Brilliant Trees

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Brilliant Trees
David Sylvian-Brilliant Trees (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
Released25 June 1984[1]
Recorded1983–1984, London, Berlin
GenreArt rock, avant-pop
ProducerDavid Sylvian, Steve Nye
David Sylvian chronology
Brilliant Trees
Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities
Singles from Brilliant Trees
  1. "Red Guitar"
    Released: May 1984
  2. "The Ink in the Well"
    Released: August 1984
  3. "Pulling Punches"
    Released: October 1984
Alternative cover
2003 remastered edition
2003 remastered edition
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[3]
Mojo4/5 stars[4]
Q4/5 stars[6]
Smash Hits8/10[7]

Brilliant Trees is the first solo album by the British singer-songwriter David Sylvian, released in 1984. The album peaked at number 4 on the UK Albums Chart and has been certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry for sales in excess of 100,000 copies.


Produced by Sylvian with Steve Nye, it was his first full-length release after the break-up of his band Japan in December 1982 (though former Japan members Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri both appear on the album). AllMusic called the album "an eclectic affair fusing funk, jazz, and ambient."[8] Additional musicians on the album included Danny Thompson on acoustic bass, Jon Hassell on trumpet, and Ryuichi Sakamoto on keyboards. Sylvian and Sakamoto had previously collaborated on the singles "Bamboo Houses" and "Forbidden Colours", and continued to collaborate at various points in their careers.


The album peaked at no.4 in the UK, the highest chart position of Sylvian's career to date,[9] and contains his biggest solo hit, "Red Guitar", which reached no.17 on the UK Singles Chart. In 1994, ten years after its release, the album was certified Gold by the BPI for sales in excess of 100,000 copies.[10]

In 1991, the album was reissued in the US as Brilliant Trees / Words with the Shaman, which included the three part single "Words with the Shaman" as bonus tracks; these songs were also included on the cassette-only album Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities. In 2003, a remastered version of Brilliant Trees was released. The album cover was altered with a cropped photo of Sylvian for this release.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by David Sylvian, except as noted.

1."Pulling Punches"5:02
2."The Ink in the Well"4:30
4."Red Guitar"5:09
5."Weathered Wall" (Sylvian, Jon Hassell)5:44
7."Brilliant Trees" (Sylvian, Hassell)8:39
Total length:39:37



  • Yuka Fujii – photography
  • David Sylvian – producer for Klangfarben Productions, mixing assistant
  • Steve Nye – record producer for Klangfarben Productions, sound engineer, audio mixing A1, A3 to B1, B3
  • P. Williams – sound engineer, mixing assistant mixer
  • Nigel Walker – mixing tracks A1, B2


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Hayes, Kevin. "Brilliant Trees – David Sylvian". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  4. ^ Eccleston, Danny (April 2019). "Ghosts busters". Mojo (305): 100.
  5. ^ Sodomsky, Sam (23 February 2019). "David Sylvian: Secrets of the Beehive / Brilliant Trees / Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities / Gone to Earth". Pitchfork. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "David Sylvian: Brilliant Trees". Q (208): 135. November 2003.
  7. ^ Rimmer, Dave (7 June 1984). "David Sylvian: Brilliant Trees". Smash Hits. 6 (12): 19.
  8. ^ Hayes, Kevin. Brilliant Trees at AllMusic. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  9. ^ David Sylvian (Official Charts Company)
  10. ^ British Phonographic Industry online database Archived 2013-01-24 at the Wayback Machine