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David Sylvian

The Ink In The Well (Limited Edition 12”)

@1984 UK Pressing


David Sylvian released his first solo album in 1984, after the breakup of his band Japan. The album featured the hit single ‘Red guitar’, but two further singles were released. The second single, ‘The ink in the well’ was released in August 1984 and reached number 36 in the UK singles chart.

A limited edition featured a foldout sleeve with photography by Anton Corbijn. The song itself is a wonderfully textured, organic kind of track, the kind of music David Sylvian would continue to make with ever less chart success.

  • Track Name


  • Album

    Songs from the Shipyards (Diversions, Vol. 3)

  • Artist

    The Unthanks


Richard Fenwick’s documentary Songs From The Shipyards is a wonderfully moving collection of archive footage documenting over 100 years of shipbuilding - and shipping - on the Tyne and around the world.  It’s been shown around the country with an excellent live soundtrack from The Unthanks, the result of a carefully cultivated collaboration between the director and the band and I was fortunate to catch one of the London performances. 

As always, The Unthanks have dug deep into north eastern musical history to provide a rich and apt narrative, with the selected songs giving the film’s scenes a real human perspective throughout the highs and lows of an industry.  When the film reached the Falklands war and its impact, there was one obvious choice for what to perform. 

I’m too young to remember the original of Shipbuilding (written by Clive Langer with Elvis Costello and performed by Robert Wyatt - whose work The Unthanks have explored before to great acclaim) but thanks to Suede covering the track for The Help Album in 1995, I know its place in history.  Here though, led off by mastermind Adrian McNally, but beautifully followed by both Unthank sisters, the song’s sad futility has never sounded so bitter sweet.


Like many of Robert Wyatt’s songs there is something very soothing and very sinister about this. There’s so much power in the way he uses his voice, which has an unmatchable timbre, in a placid recitation of surreal and banal impressions:

“Outside again in the mundane world,
In the city of the closed doors,
Living men impersonate sleeping saints,
On sundry raised surfaces, (like benches).”

Would it be stretching to say that Wyatt’s songs are frequently bathetic?


robert wyatt - rock bottom
la “serie orizzonte” era una serie di ristampe anni ‘70 a (immagino) basso prezzo: ne ho diversi dischi della serie, spesso sono raccolte ma si trovano anche dischi veri e propri.
ecco, l’ultimo disco che mi sarei mai aspettato di trovare è questa perla di wyatt, suo secondo disco solista e primo dopo l’incidente che lo costringerà tutta la vita su una sedia a rotelle.
ecco, non saprei che altro aggiungere: è un disco che mi commuove ogni volta, magari non uno di quelli da ascotare almeno una volta alla settimana ma di certo un lavoro che al momento giusto sa colpire le corde giuste del cuore.
ah, adoroc he ci sia questa copertina e non quella con le due tipe che si tuffano: splendida anche quella, eh, ma questa è perfetta.

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