From his dressed-up start as leader of the underappreciated New Romantic prototype band Japan at the turn of the '80s, through dabblings with various artists, including pomo composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, art rocker David Sylvian has remained an esteemed, if unnoticed, songsmith to a fickle generation.
Brooding, and sometimes unrepentantly boring, "Dead Bees on a Cake" is nonetheless a strong statement. On "The Shining of Things," Sylvian performs over a sparse, dramatic string arrangement, softly realizing "I hear the shallowness in everything I see." Guests Sakamoto, Talvin Singh, Bill Frisell and Marc Ribot bring instrumental texture to the sometimes indulgent affair. But overall the sound is both hypnotic and surprisingly revealing.