NYC. Taking a turn off 14th Street, amidst the hustle and noise, the striking union workers and wig shops, all the fast food lit with fluorescents and Urban Outfitters, into a studio four floors above the F train, dubbed the Embassy. This is where it all started. Richard spinning vinyl. He was the DJ that Saturday night. The sounds of the seventies or thirty years on. What year was it? 2000? 2001 A Space Odyssey? Does it matter? The beginning is always invisible.

Sylvarluxe is the moniker for artist Richard Sylvarnes and his musical output which incorporates other musicians for its various releases. He hesitates to call it solo work since the input of the other musicians is crucial. "I see myself as half way between being a solo artist and in a band. It's an odd position to be in, nevertheless I prefer it this way." Richard's earlier musical work centered on making soundtracks to his experimental films. He went to Berklee College of Music and has had the privilege to study with remarkable musicians including the recently deceased Larry Logeman and the remarkable English guitarist Robert Fripp and subsequently went on to perform with Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists in Washington D.C. and New York City on a mini tour. While working on the music for The Cloud of Unknowing the idea hit him to form Sylvarluxe. "At around 2001 I was working with Andy Russ, a composer and musician who has worked extensively with Merce Cunningham. I began to make song based material that would be featured in the film. We called in other talents to help us; Miho Nikaido, John Torreano, and the Welsh born Katy Lewis." It was Katy, though, that would be a major inspiration to the formation of Sylvarluxe. "I fell in love with her voice. She has a natural talent for singing, phrasing, and hearing or maybe it's just a Welsh tendency. I know that country is known for its voices. Anyway, when one makes music it's listening that's most important and reacting to what you hear. That's where Katy shines. She hears things while she listens and she knows how to actualize that."
Due to overriding commitments it took several years to put the actual process to the test but in 2005 Sylvarluxe released its first disc titled Viva. Many tracks were written and recorded before the final 12 songs were chosen for inclusion. "The reason those particular songs were picked is because they were the ones that fit together to create a whole, whether it be sonically or thematically." Speaking of sonics, although Viva recalls the early glam days of Roxy Music and Brian Eno along with a Post Punk influence the disc is clearly modern with its electronic nod to club culture. It even has a touch of French pop à la Serge Gainsborough with the pithy The Tragic Death of a French RocknRoll Star. "Viva is informed by my thoughts, remembrances, dreams, preoccupations, and perhaps even my somewhat hedonist lifestyle. At the time of the writing cyberculture and artificial intelligence were such a part of the landscape and what I consider an overuse of the internet whereby people actually believe that they are being active and part of a community while there actually sitting quite alone in there bedroom in front of a computer screen. I wanted to juxtapose that with an emphasis on physical contact, of the nightlife in New York, and its exhausting tendencies. The relationship between physical contact and internet activity is the difference between a hot date and a postcard.”

Richard formed the company Skrymir to deal with the release of the disc. Skrymir is the name of a Scandinavian giant that tied a knot that even the mighty Norse god Thor could not untie. “I felt the name Skrymir was very apropos for the company. First of all I am of Scandinavian descent and secondly the idea of tying a knot that can not be untied even by the mightiest of Norse gods makes for strong business relationships. I hope, anyway.”

Immediately after Viva Richard began working on the mammoth undertaking of the full on, experimental, avant-garde film titled H.C.E. and the accompanying soundtrack. This time Richard teamed up with the Italian musician Pietro Russino to make evocative music that speaks of a post apocalyptic world and using the voice of his daughter, Sonje Sylvarnes who was six at the time, as the narrator. Various texts from Kafka to Dante, H. P. Lovecraft to Oscar Wilde, and many more were utilized to form the grand narrative. The work proved exhausting but when finished the film premiered with much fanfare at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006 and the soundtrack was released that same year by Skrymir in specially designed, beautiful packaging.

After this Richard relocated to Berlin to, once again, work with the venerable indie stalwart filmmaker Hal Hartley on his latest opus only to return to New York with Sylvarluxe's next release penned. Once again Richard teamed up with Katy, now living in Wales. The result was and then she heard the echo of the Big Bang. A marked departure from Viva, the new record deals more with combustible politics than the infatuations with the anesthetizing affects of cyberspace and the New York nightlife. "With all that's going on in the world one can’t help but be affected by the brain numbing stupidity of our heads of government. I was on Canal Street when the Towers fell. It was a devastating moment. But who would have thought that seven years hence we’d be embroiled in a pathetically ignorant campaign that has completely disrupted the Middle East. One hopes that governments are voted into office to help solve problems. Not create them; as they do." Not all the album is politically informed. There are a host of other tracks including the paean to the late great front man of Joy Division, Ian Curtis, and even an homage to G.I. Gurdjieff called Long Afternoon on a Perfect Day, affectionately thought of as "The Gurdjieff Love Song". Throughout the album there’s a feeling of a need for escape and in the resolute ending Richard sings “just let the world slowly fade away and let yourself disappear”.

There are no plans in the near future to tour the material although one never knows. "I would love to perform the material live. We certainly have plenty to choose from and I have had requests to do so but it just doesn't presently make sense. Sylvarluxe takes various forms depending on the situation. The material from H.C.E. is so completely different and requires contrasting musicians than either Viva or and then she heard the echo of the Big Bang. Also, Katy is very involved in Europe and has her own commitments. The timing is just not right. It may never be. But I won't rule out performing live with some type of incarnation of Sylvarluxe. We'll see." In the meantime, Richard is already half finished with the next release dubbed as of now Metal Skyline. "It's more abrasive than the other releases with harsher guitars and electronics than before and deals with being stranded physically, spiritually, and metaphorically in the desert."