David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single (Virgin, VS815-12, 1986)

So, where to start with this one… Being of a limited budget at its time of release, I opted just for the 7″ single of this fine song. I don’t even remember being aware that the 12″ single had a different version – I guess that if I had actually seen the 12″ single and checked out the back cover credits it would have been a bit more obvious, since it namechecks Julian Mendelsohn for the remix. But for whatever reason I never clocked on this, so, for many, many years I lived in blissful ignorance of this remix – and as far as I know, it never has had any kind of release on CD or download.

David Sylvian - 'Taking The Veil' UK 12" single front cover design
^ David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single front cover design

Despite a stellar cast of art rock names in one place and the feeling that this would have given a pointer to something quite weighty, this is a beautifully slight piece with plenty of air to its precise, nimble rhythmic interplay and arrangement. The guitars in particular twist and dart as if folded into some miniature piece of exquisite origami, while the ever dependable Steve Jansen’s kick drum pins down to start with and yet plays around loosely into something far more off kilter as the instruments join in. The opening track of the ‘Gone To Earth’ album, it’s perhaps no wonder that it didn’t chart high – this was a good way on even from ‘Brilliant Trees’ era singles.

This 12″ remix plays around with the structure – opening up with some radiophonics (that are barely audible in the regular mix during the multiple guitar workout towards the latter part of the song) while a a near sonic boom reverbed snare drum strike that would do early period Cocteau Twins proud sees in a now off kilter version of the normally familiar Steve Jansen drums – a more unsettling feel before bearings are found again as the firmly anchored fretless bass grounds it all. Sonically, there are some tweaks going that take a good bit of liberty compared with the original – long delays to the vocal, a good deal more reverb to the guitars – and a very different construct towards the end that paints a Beatles, more ambient hue for an all too brief period.

David Sylvian - 'Taking The Veil' UK 12" single rear cover design
^ David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single rear cover design

Oddly, side A of this 12″ single contains both the remix and regular versions of ‘Taking The Veil’, though the cover lists only the one title. As mentioned before, it never has seen a CD release so far – none of the myriad 80s 12″ compilations seem to have shown interest and none of the various Virgin compilations of Sylvian’s work (nor the ‘Weatherbox’ box set) have swept it up for inclusion. I don’t know the background to it, perhaps it wasn’t well liked by Sylvian? It would hardly be the first such remix that the artist may have taken a dislike to and left out in the cold…

In the end, I’ll always prefer the regular mix, but it makes for an interesting diversion this mix and it deserves to see light of day again.

David Sylvian - 'Taking The Veil' UK 12" single - label side A
^ David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single – label side A
David Sylvian - 'Taking The Veil' UK 12" single - label side B
^ David Sylvian – ‘Taking The Veil’ UK 12″ single – label side B

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