David Sylvian displays Implausible Beauty with long-awaited UK tour - March 2012 tickets available Friday 23rd Sep

Posted: 19th September 2011

A few decades ago, there was something intrinsically brave about wearing make-up and forming a band, not that I ever tried it personally (cue sarky remark from Ed), but one David Batt did just that in 1974, forming the band Japan in a puff of foundation, a smear of lipstick and a shared penchant for glam-rock. After all, Catford probably offered little solitude or excitement for kids back in the days of power-cuts, prog-rock and white dog-poo, so forming a band with your mates (and brother) was probably a safe way out. Probably still is, truth be told.

After spending half a decade trading glitzy albums such as "Adolescent Sex" with an indifferent public, the band hopped from Hansa Records to Virgin and fine-tuned their sound. This proved to be as lucrative as much as it was creatively rewarding - their 1981 album, "Tin Drum", borrowed atmospheres and influence from South East Asia and kept the utility companies off their backs with hits such as "Ghosts" and "Visions of China".

But it wasn't to last - Japan split in 1982 and its members all continued their already-established extra projects, with frontman David "Batt" Sylvian probably having the most success. During the past 30 years, Sylvian has co-written film-scores and pop-songs with Ryuichi Sakamoto, created riff-laden rock with guitarist Robert Fripp, scored exhibitions for Russell Mills and recorded long ambient electronic with bonkers flugelhorn-wielding Can-man, Holger Czukay.

More recently, he's discovered the more avant-garde end of electronic landscaping, choosing to dress his intimate and personal creations with tricky contributions from Christian Fennesz and Toshimaru Nakamura - for the most part, as with all of his work, he's out there - and I mean 'out there' - but never less than engaging.

2012 will see David Sylvian return to the live scene for five shows around the UK, as part of a larger European tour called "Implausible Beauty", his first jaunt since his sold-out touring shows in 2007. This time he returns to Manchester (23rd March), London (24th), Birmingham (26th) and Glasgow (28th), as well as a very, very rare trip to Nottingham (27th). Tickets, starting at £32.50, are on sale from Friday onwards with demand probably sky-high. Expect excerpts from "Manafon", "Died In The Wool" and just about anything else in the man's exquisite canon.

Paul Pledger