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Includes "After a Fashion" and "Textures" with Mick Karn
 




The DVD above includes footage of Yellow Magic Orchestra in the recording studio.





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Japan Nightporter - News Archive


Dali's Car "InGladAloneness" EP out 5th April 2012

Dalis Car InGladAloneness artwork

Hugely respected for his innovative approach to the fretless bass and his groundbreaking work with Japan/Rain Tree Crow, Kate Bush, David Torn and others. Mick Karn died on the 4th of January, 2011.

Initiated by Peter Murphy, Karn's final work during his lifetime saw the unexpected resurrection of the duo's cult mid-1980s project, Dali's Car.

Conceived during the final months of Karn's life, the resulting 5 track EP features contributions from friends and regular musical collaborators Steve Jansen, Jakko M Jacsyzk and Theo Travis.

InGladAloneness is a glorious testament to a unique vision tragically cut short by illness. To order the CD visit burningshed.com


David Sylvian tour cancelled

Sadly due to a back injury David has been forced to cancel the 2012 "Implausible Beauty" tour.
Visit David's official site for more information. I'd like to wish David a speedy recovery.


David Sylvian compilation "A Victim Of Stars"

A Victim Of Stars

EMI releases "A Victim of Stars" David Sylvian 1982 - 2012 on Monday 27th February 2012. The 2 CD set includes most of David's solo singles as well as "Ghosts" and a new track "Where's Your Gravity?". Please note that the artwork above will show "1982 - 2012" on the actual release; online stores are showing the new version.


River Laker "David Sylvian" video

This clip lampoons David's fans rather than David himself. There's a lot of truth in it!

Caan's cover of "Ghosts"



I'm really pleased Caan has recorded this, I was already a follower having seen him live, and he is a fellow Japan fan; it's a great arrangement picking out some elements of the Japan version but played on strings. Suzanne Barbieri comments on the YouTube page: "Richard & I both love your new take on 'Ghosts'. Wishing you all the best."


The Polaroids are back - Jan 21 2012, Madrid.

http://www.facebook.com/events/249570158441418/


Japan badges by artist Patrick Wray

Japan badges Patrick has interpreted three classic Japan album covers for this badge set available from his website. I particularly like the "Tin Drum" one.




















David Sylvian with Joan As Police Woman

Joan recently tweeted a photo taken during a recording session for their new duet project.

Joan Wasser and David Sylvian

Richard Barbieri new album with Steve Hogarth

Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri

"Not The Weapon But The Hand" the new album from Steve Hogarth & Richard Barbieri will be released by Kscope on Feb 27th.  Go to the mini site for audio samples, pre order details, signed copies and updates.

Caan to release "Ghosts" cover

Caan

Caan, formerly a member of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool will shortly release his cover version of "Ghosts". More information on Caan and a free download track is available at his website.

Nightporter Club Nights in 2012

The first club night of 2012 "Implausible Alternatives" will be on February 18th at our regular venue The London Stone. It will be a Sylvian special celebrating all aspects of his career - a chance to get together with friends and speculate what he might have in store for us during the "Implausible Beauty" tour and to discuss the merits of the new compilation "A Victim of Stars". Expect to hear rare tracks, see rare video and if you have a question about David's work, experts will be on hand to help you find the answer.

On August 4th we'll be having a proper party, as indicated by the recent poll, "Rouge Magic" will be very retro, very upbeat and we'll be playing 80s synth, pop and a little bit of indie.

Finally, on November 10th we'll be trying to recreate the atmosphere of Japan's final tour with "Pioneer Stories". I would like to say it'll be cool and sophisticated but knowing us it's most likely to feature The Contrarians dressed as Japan's road crew were at the final show...

If you have any questions or comments please email me rymerster@gmail.com and join the Nightporter facebook page.

David Sylvian 2012 European tour announced

Check out David's official site for full information

Japan Live History - more updates!

Many thanks to Craig, Rob, Henk and Gary for sharing information, clippings and corrections. I'm sure there is still more out there to be found! Check it out.

Mick Karn 2010 interview

Rob Kirby has contributed an interview previously published in print in his Ultravox magazine "re:VOX". Read it here.

Japan Live History pages updated

The Live History pages have been extensively updated thanks to input from Craig Hamlin who has been helping me dig out some reviews of shows including images. Be warned, a couple of the reviews are pretty vicious!

Richard Barbieri working on new material with Steve Hogarth

More details in Steve Hogarth's Blog

New version of "Artemis" by Dali's Car released

Mick Karn would have been 53 today, July 24th 2011. A new version of "Artemis" by Dali's Car is now available from Mick's store at burningshed.com

To commemorate Mick's birthday, as a treat for fans, a taster for Mick's last completed project (a new Dali's Car EP) is being offered  as a download.

Artemis is a re-working of an instrumental from the band's debut album and features new vocal and lyrical contributions from Peter Murphy, as well as additional instrumentation from Steve Jansen, Jakko M Jakszyk and others.

A superb reunion with Peter Murphy, the forthcoming EP, In Glad Aloneness, continues the intense and exotic experiments of the band's cult classic from 1984, The Waking Hour. All profits will be donated to Mick's son and wife.

Dalis Car InGladAloneness artwork

Dali's Car


News update posted 31/5/2011 at mickkarn.net

The five Dali’s Car tracks have just been mastered by Peter in Istanbul and the artwork by Peter Murphy & Thomas Bak is being finalised. We will be able to advise release date soon.

The EP is entitled 'InGladAloneness', track listing as follows:

KING CLOUD
SOUND CLOUD
ARTEMIS
SUBHANALLAH
IF YOU GO AWAY

Peter Murphy - lyrics and vocals, keyboards
Mick Karn - bass, bass clarinet, additional guitars

Steve Jansen - drums
Jakko M Jakszyk - nylon acoustic, electric guitars, and gu zheng
Theo Travis - saxophones and flute
Sengul - vocals on Subhanallah
Gill Morley - violin
Ellen Blair - violin and viola
Pete Lockett – percussion
Paul Lawford – congas
Steve D'Agostino - additional keyboards

Help for Japan

Richard has re recorded and reworked the Japan track  "Experience of Swimming" for an ambient compilation album in aid of the relief effort in Japan.  Also included is the track "Drops of Mercury" from the "Things Buried" solo album.

Any donation to the Red Cross and the album is then free to download.
For more details go to http://www.microscopics.co.uk/japan

Mick Karn tributes from Bass Player magazine and Peter Murphy

Paul Gaff reports: "Just picked up this months (US) Bass Player Magazine and there's a short 2 1/2 page retrospective on Mick Karn plus a some bass-tabs in their regular Woodshed section.  There's another piece next month detailing his after-Japan work.".

Peter Murphy speaks about working with Mick on Dalis Car 2 in an interview with WYEP Radio. Details are at the blog Slicing Up Eyeballs and this is the link to the audio file (m3u playlist will open in your media player). Pete starts talking about Mick at about 31 minutes in. Thankyou to Vicky for finding this.


David Sylvian "artist in residence" and performing "Plight & Premonition" at the Punkt Festival, Norway September 2011

David will be presenting an audio-visual art installation "Uncommon Deities" plus performing "Plight & Premonition" with John Tilbury, Jan Bang, Erik Honoré and others. More information over at David's official site

David Sylvian contributing to charity concert in NYC with Ryuichi Sakamoto, 9th April

David has recorded poetry readings for Ryuichi's performance at The Japan Society NYC Saturday April 9th. The concert will also be viewable on the internet via Ustream. 100% of proceeds from this event will go to the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund, more information over at Ryuichi Sakamoto's website and also at The Japan Society website.

New David Sylvian album "Died In The Wool" out May 23rd

This 2 CD collection includes new material and re-worked tracks from 'Manafon' . Released on SamadhiSound, the catalogue number is SOUNDCDSS021 for the regular edition on sale worldwide and PCD-26034 for the Japanese release.

Disc 1:
Small Metal Gods
Died In The Wool
I Should Not Dare
Random Acts Of Senseless Violence
A Certain Slant Of Light
Anomaly At Taw Head
Snow White In Appalachia
Emily Dickinson
The Greatest Living Englishman (Coda)
Anomaly At Taw Head (A Haunting)
Manafon
The Last Days Of December

Disc 2:
When We Return You Won't Recognise Us



I recommend checking out toolateforheaven's YouTube channel for some excellent quality clips of Japan from BBC TV shows.

Steve Jansen and Shoko Ise videos available to download from iTunes in the UK, EU countries and Japan from 20th April


The videos come from work prepared for Steve's "Slope" concerts in Japan; most were previously on the DVD "The Occurence Of Slope" but others are the background films used during the shows. One of the pieces included is the beautiful "Playground Martyrs (Reprise)". Steve says that the material will be available from the US and Canadian iTunes stores aswell but there is no confirmed date yet.

For more infomation and images visit stevejansen.com

Dalis Car 2 update 28/3/2011

A message from Debi Zornes, posted today on Mick Karn's official Facebook page:

"Mick's final work has yet to be released and is a collaboration with Peter Murphy as 'Dalis Car 2'. The duo were reunited in a studio in Oxford at the end of September last year to begin work and four tracks were completed over the ensuing months - a slow process due to Mick's declining health. Steve has just finishing mixing the four tracks which will be released as an EP. More news to follow soon on this including release date."

Ryuichi Sakamoto London live dates

I'd recommend getting along to Sakamoto's Trio show at the Royal Festival Hall in November,
tickets on sale now. More details included in the press release (PDF format).

Ryuichi is also playing with Alva Noto as part of the Raster-Noton/Mute Sound Halo event on May 12th at The Roundhouse.


Update from Steve Jansen 27/3/2011

"a quick update as news has been thin on the ground of late. over recent months steve has contributed to scottish and portuguese singer/songwriter projects as well arranging and producing music for alice in italy. most recently steve has completed mixing 4 dali's car tracks that are pending release later in the year. in the meantime new material with david sylvian is being developed as well as solo material but as yet there are no schedules for finalising or releasing new works. the live performance in tokyo last december is potentially being developed as a visual work to be available in download form."

From stevejansen.com

A new song "Bem-Vido" featuring Steve by Susana Félix can be heard at the Rádio Comercial website. (thanks to Joao Cabrita for the link).

Original Album Classics

Japan "Original Album Classics" 3 CD set and digital release, out 28th March in Europe and the UK.

Original Album Classics - showing the discs

Sony Music are releasing the first 3 Japan albums as a slim box set "Original Album Classics".

Each album comes in a replica vinyl LP sleeve and there is new artwork on the discs themselves and on the box.

The track listings are the same as the 2004 and 2006 releases, but without the video content. 'Obscure Alternatives' is once more missing the first few guitar riffs - to date no CD released post 2004 has had the full song.

The miniature LP sleeves are quite cute, "Obscure Alternatives" has a red logo (the Japanese mini LPs had blue logos) and "Quiet Life" is NOT gatefold, however in a perverse way this is interesting as it replicates the UK reissue LP sleeve!


Japan for Audiophiles project.

Ever wanted to know which pressings of Japan albums on LP and CD have the best sound quality? Following various requests I am starting a research project to put together a buyers guide for Japan based on audio quality.

To do this I need people to share their observations of the audio quality of the LPs and CDs they have. As views are subjective - aside from obvious flaws such as the wobbly first note on "Nightporter" (Virgin 2003 remaster) - I would like you to use the following system to rate the releases you own:

Album: Adolescent Sex
Pressing: UK LP Hansa AHAL 8004 (Manufactured by Pye)
Grade (1 being poor, 10 being perfect): 10
Comments: Whatever you like here - for example "Nice warm sound, well balanced, good definition with a crisp top end and smooth bass - sounds the way I remember."

I would like to use the original LP pressing as the baseline to work from - it isn't always the best pressing - "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" is one album where they only got it right on the Japanese LP and on some CD pressings - but it is the version that the band intended us to hear at the time of release and for old-timers like myself is the definitive edition others need to be measured by.

I'm very interested in learning about variations e.g. on some pressings there may be glitches or mastering errors that are not widely known about.

To make things easier, I am starting with Japan's debut album "Adolescent Sex", so please go and listen to your copy (or copies) during March and email me your findings to rymerster@gmail.com



Mick Karn fan gathering, Saturday 5th Feb, London

Thankyou to everyone who attended the drinks at The Retro Bar, and also to those who sent their best wishes and joined us to make a toast to Mick at 10pm when we played "Sons of Pioneers".

Thankyou to Diane for sending the badges.

There will be another Japan drink in April, followed by a Nightporter club night in the Summer.



The Polaroids play tribute to Mick and Japan in Valencia

January 22nd in Valencia, Spain saw a group of Japan admirers, Polaroids, play tribute to Mick Karn. They did a great job - see for yourself in the YouTube clip below - many thanks to Isabel.

Visions Of China



Mick Karn

Mick Karn

"It's with profound sadness that we have to inform you that Mick finally lost his battle with cancer and passed away peacefully at 4.30pm today, 4th January 2011 at home in Chelsea, London.  He was surrounded by his family and friends and will be deeply missed by all."

http://www.mickkarn.net

Facebook Page where you can post tributes




Mick Karn/Japan tribute concert in Valencia, Spain - new date and venue.


Poster

More information at the event's facebook page


Japan deluxe vinyl LP reissues on the way


The Netherlands based label Music On Vinyl is preparing deluxe 180 gram vinyl LP releases of the first three Japan albums. "Adolescent Sex" is out on October 4th with "Obscure Alternatives" and "Quiet Life" to follow. Each release will include a bonus record including non-album tracks. The first 1000 copies of "Adolescent Sex" will be pressed on red vinyl, and the bonus 7" single features "State Line" and the single version of "Adolescent Sex". More information here. Contact the label at the link above for advice on local retailers, but UK buyers can get it from What Records.

Update - some fans have pointed out that "Obscure Alternatives" includes the version of the title track missing some of the intro - very poor! This version of the song first appeared on the 2004 CD releases and has not so far been fixed. Let's hope there are no problems with "Quiet Life".


Dalis Car - 2011 model in the works - greatest fan excitement in years


Dalis CarPeter Murphy surprised *everyone* by announcing last weekend via Twitter and in a video posted on his Facebook page that he has reunited with Mick Karn to record a new Dalis Car album.

The as-yet-untitled album is due to be recorded this month in the UK. It is the first time since 1984 that the duo have worked together.

"The Waking Hour" did not appeal to a large audience at the time of its release but over the years has been re-evaluated by fans and critics alike. Therefore there has been much excitement among fans of both artists that they plan to record together again - not much pressure then!

The news has also been confirmed by a message on Mick's website.

UPDATE Feb 2011 - it seems before Mick passed away 4 tracks were completed and these may be released as an EP at some point during 2011.



Nightporter Japan Club Night - Saturday 24th July - Mick Karn fundraiser


Photo of the Nightporter crowd by Dom Agius

Click here for more photos. Photo above by Dom Agius. The night went extremely well, people were very generous and we raised well over the 4 figure target I had set  - with much more to come because people donated items on the night to sell or auction to raise money for Mick (eBay links coming soon). Thankyou to everyone who helped out - and many people did who couldn't be there in person. Mick has also posted a thankyou message on his site.

Masami, Vivian and Masahide


Mick Karn's friends and fans rally 'round to raise awareness and cash for his cancer treatment:

Dirk Tholenaar is auctioning a set Mick Karn prints - visit his site here

Bill Nelson and Martin Bostock are auctioning signed art prints of Bill on eBay. The auctions are here and here.

There are a couple of recording projects underway - Masahide Sakuma (ex-Plastics), Masami Tsuchiya, Gota (ex-Melon and Simply Red) and Vivian Hsu are making new recordings with the plan for proceeds to benefit the Mick Karn Appeal. Sakuma has uploaded several works in progress on his blog that you can access here. For the benefit of non-Japanese readers, if you click into the links on the main column of the page, you will navigate to a new page with sound clips.

Sugizo has posted a lengthy tribute to Mick on his MySpace page. A new track "Missing Link", including Mick on bass, has been released to promote the Appeal. This is available from mickkarn.net.

Suzanne Barbieri has been very active online encouraging people to donate to and publicise the Mick Karn Appeal, while Richard has been busy with touring committments with Porcupine Tree the group have made a live album available and have been auctioning rarities on eBay. Click here for more information on the live album "Atlanta". Suzanne has made a contribution to a new EP that will contribute to the Mick Karn Appeal with Gavin Harrison, Markus Reuter and 05Ric. There is a YouTube clip of the work in progress here. The EP "BubbleBurstFlow" is available to buy from burningshed.com

David Sylvian has uploaded a new track, an interpretation of the Emily Dickinson poem "A Certain Slant of Light", to raise awareness of the Mick Karn Appeal. More information and the download is here.

Midge Ure is planning benefit show - date to be confirmed but possibly 31st August:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20100611_midge.shtml


Steve Jansen is contributing to the Mick Karn Appeal through the sales from his ImageShop

Many other people have contributed to the Mick Karn Appeal and have raised awareness - Mick has posted thankyou messages on his site




4/6/2010

Mick Karn Appeal

"With great sadness we regret to inform you that Mick has recently been diagnosed with advanced stages of cancer. Mick is currently in positive mood and undergoing further tests and treatment. His family and friends are close with him, supporting him in practical ways, and surrounding him with their love, friendship and care.

Mick has been struggling financially for some considerable time now and we are hoping that this appeal may help to raise funds for any necessary treatment and perhaps go some way towards providing a small degree of financial support whilst Mick's immediate family provide the care and comfort we would all wish for him. We are hoping that his friends, fans and musical colleagues will, over the coming months, offer any support they feel capable of giving. Quite aside from the sheer brunt of daunting medically-related costs, Mick's clear and major concern is for the security and well being of his wife and young son.

If you would like to make a donation whether as an individual or as a group, you can do so via the paypal link at http://www.mickkarn.net/ which has been set up for this sole and express purpose. Any support you are able to give, no matter how small, could make a difference in helping Mick cope during this difficult period. His friends will be looking at a variety of ways to raise funds.

If you would simply like to leave your kind messages of support for Mick, please do so at http://www.mickkarn.net/Pages/Message.htm

We will keep you all updated as often as we can.

Please do note that news is released with Mick's full approval."


27/05/2010
Furiku

Furiku "Knights of the Opium Moon" featuring Mick Karn


Check out this great new track on Furiku's album "Like a Freak", available from Amazon, iTunes and their website. Hope to have some more information soon on how this collaboration came about, but in the meantime check out the Furiku website and MySpace page.

Furiku are a group from South London, comprising Aruan Duval, Dom Agius and Mick Guihen. Their music is electronic pop in the broadest sense; but with solid song-writing, witty lyrics and a cool sensibility I hope they don't mind me saying their material reminds me of Eurythmics circa "Sweet Dreams", the best early Pet Shop Boys b-sides and the invention of Blancmange.

I would also recommend the Beloved Aunt album "From Indian Head to Ashland" - an astounding album telling the story of UFO abductees Betty and Barney Hill, using archive recordings of their voices. I bought the album last week and had a very enjoyable (for a change) train ride to Derby listening to the album, reading about the case at the same time. The music perfectly compliments the otherworldly feel of the voices; often uptempo and engaging as well as scarily atmospheric. I'll be playing tracks from this, and of course the Furiku track featuring Mick at the next club night. See below for more about this project from Suzanne Barbieri.
Correspondent Keith Phillips attended a performance by Evan Parker in London this weekend

Keith had the opportunity to talk to Evan who explained what it was like working with David Sylvian on the Manafon album:

"he said David Sylvian was "a very nice man" and that he had really enjoyed working with him - he said Sylvian put all the improvised music in Pro Tools and cut and pasted bits around his vocal to create the finished album".
Evan Parker and Keith Philips


21/05/2010

Last night saw Porcupine Tree's "Anesthetize" film premier take place in London's Leicester Square.  The Prince Charles Cinema was packed out with fans, all of whom had the opportunity to meet Richard and the rest of the group after the screening. Gavin Harrison introduced the film, with a few jokes at the expense of his bandmates and director
Lasse Hoile, who received a well deserved round of applause.

Rich and ColinPorcupine Tree

I would highly recommend the film; as a new Porcupine Tree fan (I just got into them with The Incident last year) it was an opportunity to see what they might be live. As a Barbieri fan it was good to see how he plays more than in any other footage I've seen. Overall, the director chose to give equal time to all band members, and a variety of shooting styles was used to make it a very vibrant experience e.g. there was some deliberate camera shake on some shots of Gavin Harrison that fitted with the music at the time. I only spotted a cameraman once in the footage, amazing considering that 16 were used. The sound quality in the theatre was good, though I suspect about half as loud as seeing the group live would be. No distortion (except where deliberate); clear vocals throughout, and although I'm not familiar with all of the material, it seemed to be well balanced so you could hear all of the instrumentation very well. Highly recommended, worth getting if you are new to Porcupine Tree as it's a good introduction to the band, and judging from what people were saying afterwards, it really delivers for people that are already fans of the group.

Anesthetize is available from 24th May on DVD and 7th June on Blu-Ray at all good retailers.



19/05/2010
Suzanne Barbieri

David Sowerby at the Yahoo! Group reports that  there's an Interesting interview with Richards better half Suzanne Barbieri in this months Fortean Times. Her latest project is an album based upon the infamous Barney and Betty Hill UFO abduction case. Recorded under the name 'Beloved Aunt' Suzanne uses actual footage of the Hills' under hypnosis as part of the vocal. Suzanne is a subscriber to FT and a keen follower of the unexplained...

From Indian Head To Ashland by Beloved Aunt is available by download from burningshed.com



17/05/2010

Another new YouTube clip of Masami with Ippu-Do and Japan, rehearsing for the Sons of Pioneers tour. Watch to the very end of the clip because Steve and David talk briefly about Masami's contribution to the tour.




The new compilation by David Sylvian
entitled Sleepwalkers featuring recent collaborative work will be released Summer 2010. It features a number of remixes by David and a new composition with Dai Fujikura entitled 'Five Lines'.


01. Sleepwalkers
02. Money for all
03. Ballad of a deadman
04. Angels
05. World citizen - I won't be disappointed
06. Five lines
07. The day the earth stole heaven
08. Playground martyrs
09. Exit/delete
10. Pure genius
11. Wonderful world
12. Transit
13. The world is everything
14.Thermal
15. Sugarfuel
16. Trauma


01/05/2010

YouTube clip of a Toyota commercial featuring "Fait Accompli", a Steve Jansen and Yukihiro Takahashi co-written track from the late 80s. Great song.




29/04/2010
Japan's "I Second That Emotion" available now at the Sony PlayStation SingStore!

Second That Emotion on the PS3Second That Emotion on the PS3
Second That Emotion on the PS3Second That Emotion on the PS3
Second That Emotion on the PS3Second That Emotion on the PS3

Yes, Japan are now among the greats such as ABBA, Queen and Lady Gaga to have a song available for competitive karaoke enjoyment at the SingStore. Now, at long last I can beat the other half at something other than "Life on Mars?" And on the first go, yes I "won"! I have to say, it's not easy singing like Sylvian.



21/04/2010
Interview with Richard in Total Soccer magazine - great article - scroll to page 53 and then click on the page to read the article.


Thankyou to Siobhan for sending in this photo of the mixing desk at Air Studios, where much of Japan's best work was recorded.

Air Studios


13/04/2010

YouTube clip of "Sumire, September Love" by Ippu-Do with footage of Japan rehearsing for the "Sons of Pioneers" Tour in 1982. Great to see that "new" footage is still out there to be found.



11/04/2010
Porcupine Tree News:
New live film to premiere at London's Leicester Square Thursday May 20th – limited number of tickets on sale now.

Anesthetize, a new live film from Porcupine Tree is to be premiered at a special screening in the Prince Charles Cinema at London's Leicester Square on Thursday May 20th at 7pm. The screening will be introduced by the band and filmmaker. Members of the band will also be available to sign copies of the film, which is being released on Kscope as 2disc set (DVD + Blu-Ray), following the screening.

Porcupine TreeA limited number of tickets for this special evening are available to purchase from the cinema (www.princecharlescinema.com / 0870 811 2559) for only £10 (plus 75p booking fee).

Anesthetize follows the band’s latest album The Incident which was released last year to massive critical acclaim. The album marked another step forward in the incredible journey of the band from a solo studio project created by Steven Wilson in the late eighties to a grammy nominated act and one of the world’s most revered live bands, currently selling out arenas across the globe and wowing fans with their incredible performances.

This 130 minute film captures the power of band’s live show. Directed by long-time collaborator Lasse Hoile, the film was recorded in high definition on multi-cameras over two nights at 013 venue in Tilburg, Holland in October 2008. The concerts featured tracks from throughout the band’s career until that point including a complete performance of the Fear of a Blank Planet album.

Anesthetize collects the highlights from the two shows and presents them on both DVD and on Blu-Ray. It is only the band’s second DVD release and will be available on Kscope in May 2010 as either a 2-disc set (DVD + Blu-Ray) or as a single disc (DVD) release.

Click here to watch a trailer of the Anesthetize film
www.kscopemusic.com/porcupinetree/


Pages updated:
I am attempting to tidy up the discography pages, adding images and updating information as I go. This weekend I have revised pages for Japan's 1978 and 1979 releases. Please visit the Complete Discography page.


Alice CD07/04/2010
Alice live album "Lungo La Strada Live" featuring Steve Jansen
Released in Italy on EMI, featuring Steve on drums and percussion. The album originally came out in 2009 but is being re-issued now and is receiving some press attention. The CD includes 12 tracks and was recorded in Milan in 2006.

04/04/2010
Link - Andy Warhol interview by Fiona Russell Powell where he mentions a project to write a lyric for Japan - something that sadly did not happen.

Updated information about "Repetition" Bowie tribute album featuring Mick Karn
Manimal’s anxiously awaited tribute to David Bowie will be available on September 6th, 2010. 100% of the net profits will go to War Child UK.

This album will be available as a limited CD, limited double LP and download with extra tracks unavailable anywhere else.
DISC ONE:David Bowie tribute
EXITMUSIC “SPACE ODDITY”
DURAN DURAN “BOYS KEEP SWINGING”
MEGAPUSS (devendra banhart) “SOUND + VISION”
WARPAINT “ASHES TO ASHES”
CHAIRLIFT “ALWAYS CRASHING IN THE SAME CAR”
A PLACE TO BURY STRANGERS “SUFFRAGETTE CITY”
ALL LEATHER “FAME”
WE ARE THE WORLD “AFRAID OF AMERICANS”
CARLA BRUNI “ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS”
VOICESVOICES “HEROES”
CORRIDOR “BE MY WIFE”
VIVIAN GIRLS “JOHN, I’M ONLY DANCING”
LIGHTS (NYC) “WORLD FALLS DOWN”
KEREN ANN “LIFE ON MARS?”
GENUFLEX “SOUL LOVE”
EDWARD SHARPE & THE MAGNETIC ZEROS “MEMORY OF A FREE FESTIVAL”

DISC TWO:
MGMT “TVC 15″
ASKA & BOBBY EVANS (feat. MOON + MOON) “AFRICAN NIGHT FLIGHT”
TEARIST “REPETITION”
POLYAMOROUS AFFAIR “THEME FROM CAT PEOPLE”
HALLOWEEN SWIM TEAM “LOOK BACK IN ANGER”
JESSICA 6 (ex-Hercules & Love Affair) “I’M DERANGED”
RAINBOW^ARABIA “QUICKSAND”
SWAHILI BLONDE “RED MONEY”
AQUASERGE “THE SUPERMEN”
MARCO BENEVENTO “ART DECADE”
SISTER CRAYON “THE BEWLAY BROTHERS”
LEWIS & CLARKE “CHANGES”
MECHANICAL BRIDE “SOUND + VISION”
ZAZA “IT AIN’T EASY”
ARIANA DELAWARI “ZIGGY STARDUST”
MICK KARN “ASHES TO ASHES”
XU XU FANG “CHINA GIRL”

01/04/2010
Japan mentioned in NME!
Ira Wolf Tuton from Yeasayer lists Ghosts as 'Right now I'm loving'... in a feature on his favourite music. "I got this 5 years ago in Baltimore - they're a band I want to get more into. They go straight from crazy orchestration into straight pop. I like them more than say Duran Duran and other bands they get compared to. They're a hidden jewel".
West End Musical "Despair!" based on the songs of Japan to open April 1st 2011
This story was an April Fool of course. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

31/03/2010

Rob Dean is featured in the May 2010 issue of "Mojo" magazine in the regular "Hello Goodbye" feature. Rob gives his side of the Japan story including some nice details I didn't know before. He also reveals that he is still in touch with Rich and Mick, and that although he has lost contact over the years with David and Steve, there is no bad feeling. The feature also includes a couple of photos of Japan and a recent one of Rob.


Things Buried Richard Barbieri's album "Things Buried" is re-issued this week on K-Scope, housed in a Super Jewel Case and at budget price. If you haven't picked up the CD now is a good opportunity. The music is a good link between the more experimenatal edge of Japan and the rock/pop side of Porcupine Tree - with some wicked beats and large soundscape. Atmospheric and accessible experimental synth music. For more information on the album click here. For a Q&A with Richard from the time the album first came out click here.

Rob Dean video clip on YouTube - Rob talks about his favourite guitars and what he's been up to in Costa Rica. The video is from 2008, so not that new, but I thought some of you might enjoy it.


28/03/2010
At long last the Compilations featuring Japan tracks page has been updated. Contrary to Mick's impression (shared in his book "Japan & Self Existence") that Japan are rarely included when these things are put together, we have evidence in the form of 230 releases that proves this is not the case!  Many thanks to everyone for sharing information to help put this page together.

Added a page about a Japanese cassette recently unearthed by one of the contributors to the site.


27/03/2010

Concrete TwinNew Mick Karn album "The Concrete Twin", Bowie cover "Ashes To Ashes" and book!
Mick's new album "The Concrete Twin" is available now on download and CD. It includes 10 brand new tracks, more information and download available from Mick's website. My favourite track on the album is "Antisocial Again?", which tells its story through music and sound effects - love it! The CD version is packaged in a 6 panel digipack and features new artwork by Mick. 


The release of the David Bowie tribute album on Warchild featuring Mick's cover of "Ashes To Ashes" has been postponed until May 2010 due to some of the artists schedules not permitting an earlier release. Featured artists include Duran Duran, Radiohead, Carla Bruni and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Mick's bookMick's autobiography "Japan & Self Existence" is available by mail order from Lulu and is a must buy for any Japan or Mick Karn fan. While this website gives you facts and figures about Japan's releases, Mick's book tells you about what life was like as a member of the group, revealing inside information about the recordings, life on the road, the good and the bad times. Mick is very open about his own life; his girlfriends and wives, his depression, money troubles, passions and hatreds. Although sometimes brutal, the book includes plenty of amusing anecdotes and chapters featuring characters such as David Torn, Gavin Harrison and John Punter will make you smile.

If you want to know more about Mick's bass playing, his sculpture, solo recordings, work with Steve, Rich and Dalis Car - it's all there. Oh, and Mick also shares fascinating photos with us the likes of which you will never have seen before (unless you were a member of Japan) - BUY IT!


The IncidentPorcupine Tree update from Richard Barbieri:
Porcupine Tree will play 2 special shows to close the Incident tour cycle, one in the UK and one in the US. The UK show is now confirmed to take place at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 14th October 2010. These shows will be evening-with concerts with PT playing an extended set - although we can't tell you exactly what the evening will hold at this moment, the band are planning some very special things that will make these 2 shows unique experiences for everyone.

Tickets for the Royal Albert Hall show will be on sale from 29th December, but please note that the bands are also putting together a special VIP package for Residents of a Blank Planet members - more news on this soon, as well as confirmation of date and location of the US show.
 

Richard Baribieri touring with Porcupine Tree, BRILLIANT chart album "The Incident"! More information about Rich's activities as a member of Porcupine Tree is available at their official site. Also, visit Richard's own site to hear some exclusive sounds!

"The Incident" is the best album yet from Porcupine Tree and I highly recommend it. In parts sounding like Rain Tree Crow, but offering everything from hard rock to the most beautiful of ballads, it is a very accessible, exciting and engaging work. I can safely say it is one of my favourite post-Japan albums and it just gets better and better with repeated listens.

Congratulations to Rich and The Porcupine Tree on the album's chart  success in the UK!


David Sylvian "Manafon" out now & magazine giveaway track "Jacqueline".

The new album from David Sylvian is out now on CD and download. A deluxe CD/DVD and book set was available for pre-order from SamadhiSound but has now sold out. 

David had a new song called "Jacqueline" on the August cover CD of the US magazine "Believer". This song, not included on the album "Manafon", is one David plans to record fully for future release on his own label. More information over at davidsylvian.com


Steve Jansen news

In a recent article on Ryuichi Sakamoto's site, Steve writes about some of his favourite albums, and I have to say the man has great taste, view the article here. Steve should read this page though, for the story behind "Pure Jam".

A live recording of Steve Jansen in concert in Japan, called "The Occurrence Of Slope" is now available for download from Steve's website.

"recorded in tokyo in february 2008 this release features performances from jansen, (drums & keyboards), keigo oyamada - aka cornelius (gtrs), masakatsu takagi (piano & keyboards) and a string quartet led by seigen tokuzawa, and includes the entire music from 'slope' plus a live rendition of the 24 minute ambient piece 'ascent' (part of a series of works entitled 'swimming in qualia'). also included is the opening and closing music composed by jansen, as well as track segues only available previously on the dvd. the download is also bundled with credit sheets designed by chris bigg."

Steve also contributes to recent album releases by Yukihiro Takahashi and John Foxx. More details at Steve's news site

Yukihiro Takahashi has also just released a remastered and expanded version of his live album "A Night In The Next Life" in Japan which features Steve on drums and vocals. The show was recorded in 1991.


New Japan compilation CD out in the UK "The Collection" (27th July 2009), for completists only.

Completists might be interested in this collection which features "Ghosts", "Visions Of China", "Quiet Life" (1981 single version) and "Life In Tokyo" (two versions including the one from the cassette of "Assemblage").  Nothing previously unreleased is included, but a couple of tracks are not available on the album CDs or Virgin's "The Very Best of Japan". This CD retails at between £3.99 and £5.99. Curiously, a mastering error has been made with "Halloween" which is obvious during the opening drums - this seems to be the compilers have used the "In Vogue" (1996) compilation master which only uses one side of the stereo field. It sounds shit, basically. Must try harder BMG!



News from Japan


Masami Tsuchiya is currently a member of Japanese rock "supergroup" Vitamin Q alongside Kazuhiko Kato (ex-Sadistic Mika Band), Ray Ohara (ex-Sadistic Mika Band), Gota Yashiki (ex-Melon) and vocalist Anza. Lots of information, sounds and pictures at their official site

Sandii has released a new album "Kabira" as SandiiBunBun - it is an experimental album with etherial, airy vocals, bells, soft drums and electronics - a very unusual sound but somewhat similar to early Sunsetz material in places. Sandii is planning live shows at present with her Hula school and also with Bun.

Ryuichi Sakamoto is touring worldwide for the rest of 2009, hitting the UK in November, before returning to Japan in mid-December for a joint tour with Taeko Ohnuki, who he has worked with on and off since 1976.

Richard and The Bays 2009

Richard travelled to Australia with The Bays in January 09 to perform two shows on the 14th / 15th at the Sydney Festival. The band improvised a soundtrack to the film "Run Lola Run", performing, along with a giant screen, from a floating barge in the Sydney Harbour. Pictures and comments about the event here


ozboys emailed in this report about the evening:

"We went to see the Bays perform last night to the film Run Lola Run as part of the Sydney Festival 2009.

What an experience.
The Bays Sydney Jan 2009 photo by ozboyz

Was it the way they had the crowd enthralled with their playing?

Was it the fact that we sat through it during one of Sydney's wonderful thunder storms?

Was it the fact that it was raining on an off all night?

Who cares. They were brilliant.

We arrived at Darling Harbour for about 6.30 in search of somewhere to eat. Opted for an Indian restaraunt.

After dining we went to try and find a spot to sit. At 6.30 the crowd was thin on the ground, but by 7.30 it was a different story. All the best spots were taken. It is hard to describe where the event was taking place but Darling Habour at one end has tired wooden seating. Timber decking like an old sailing ship. This circles around then entire end of this section of the habour. Not good with size but problably 100 metres wide. Anyway all of the seating had been taken up and the crowds were not extending back from here. Not wanting to stand, we managed to find a spot in front of the screen. Floating in the habour.

To our left about 30 metres away the boys were picked up in a dingy to take them to the stage. They had a tent set up in front of the screen which is where they played. The screen itself was raised above them so you could watch either the film, or try and see the band. This was the hard part as they were not lit up. The only lighting was from their equipment, so we could not see them at all. Tried to take pictures etc but they just did not come out. Could only get a screen shot advertising the night and a picture of where we were. No chance of getting a shot of the boys at all. Where they were picked up was the spot we were going to sit at at first but it was a really bad spot to try and watch the film. Subtitles at that angle would have proven to be too difficult - it is a German film, with English subtitles.

As we waited, the weather began to turn for the worse, though this had been happening most of the afternoon. In the morning we had 40 degree C blue sky sunshine. Then by 3.30 it had clouded over and the thunder and a little rain started. The clouds remained for the rest of the evening. The temperature also dropped making a much cooler evening. It was the weather which delayed the performance. They came on at about 21.20 instead of 20.30. When they came on all was fine and then shortly into their performance the rain came on. Sydney rain is not that light when it happens. So those who had no umbrellas had to make a dash for it or put up with the rain. Open air performances have their downsides. Luckily we had a large brolley which we managed to share with two girls from Germany. They were next to us so we all crowded under the brolly together. We had to do this throughout the performance as the rain came and went from a heavier downfall to constant drizzle.

So the performance. It was fantastic. The girls with us also said that they found the music to be really good. They said on several occassions that the band were playing very well, and we had to agree. They blended in so well with the film. Never seen the film before, and I do not think I could watch it again as I feel the film and they live music made it so outstanding. I think if I watch the film now it will have less of an impact, though the plot and how it flowed was most entertaining.

I cannot describe what style of music the boys played. I guess there was an element of their drum and bass style, but also fast paced synth / electro feel to it.

The night ended at 22.50 and we hung around for a little while to see if the boys would come back on land, but the dingy kept taking people onto the cinema platform, so they must have been doing something on there after so we left.

A very good night had by all.

ozboyz"


iTunes Obscurities

Karl emailed to let me know that the Dalis Car music video for "The Judgement Is The Mirror" is available to download at the iTunes music store. I thought I would have a browse about and found quite a few rare Japan related tracks that you might want to check out. All have previews available so you can try before you buy:

1. Takagi Masakatsu - exit/delete - this marvellous song is written by and features David Sylvian on lead vocals. It appears on the album "Coedia".
2. Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit - The Librarian (nonplace version) - this is an alternate version of the Nine Horses song with David on lead vocals. You can find it on the album "Secret Rhythms Vol.2".
3. Fennesz - Transit - again with David Sylvian, on the album "Venice".
4. Blonde Redhead & David Sylvian - "Messenger" - on the Eqqus EP.
5. Penguin Cafe Orchestra tribute album - features Steve Jansen plus the guys from YMO
6. Yellow Magic Orchestra - LondonYMO - live album recorded at the Royal Festival Hall in 2008
7. Sandii & The Sunsetz - Calling You (live) - on the compilation CD "World Classics: Sri Gati".
8. Richard Barbieri - Forbidden Song - featured on the compilation CD "The Wolf and the Moon - Drop 6".


Japan "Nightporter" Party, Saturday 29th November  2008

Thankyou to everyone who came along and especially those that helped out at the event. I had an amazing night - great to play and hear so many Japan classics in good company. Some photos of the event are here (thanks Stix!) - more to follow. We will do it again next year!



Mick Karn live date in Sweden


Mick played Halmstad on November 8th as the guest of Isuldars Bane, at a special one-off event (IB Expo 08). Tracks performed were "Feta Funk", "Mustard Grapes", "Thundergirl Mutation" and "Twitchy Handmover".  He also played on the other artists material. Thanks to Maria at the japansylvian forum for reporting on the event. 

Mick performed alongside Pat Mastelotto (drums - has worked with Akiko Yano and Robert Fripp), Pamelia Kurstin (an extraordinary Theremin player), Paintbox (a side project of "Gicken" and Linnea, the bass and cello 
player respectively from Isuldars Bane), Jan Schaffer (Swedish session guitarist, living legend in Sweden, has played with ABBA, Bob Marley and Zappa, to name a few), Valgeir Sigurdsson (Icelandic producer who has worked with Björk, The Kronos Quartet, Bonnie Prince Bily etc) and Luca Calabrese (horn player from Italy).



Steve Jansen DVD out in Japan
The Occurrence of Slope

"The Occurrence Of Slope", filmed in Japan "featuring footage from Steve's February 29, 2008 "Slope" performance at the Meguro Persimmon Hall. The DVD was released on Japan on 21st November, catalogue number P-Vine PVDV47.

Musicians featured: Steve Jansen (drums, keyboards, computer programming, string arrangements), Keigo "Cornelius" Oyamada (guitars), Masakatsu Takagi (piano, keyboards), String Quartet lead by Seigen Tokuzawa. Visuals by Shoko Ise.

Vocalists on screen during the performance: Tim Elsenburg (Sweet BIlly Pilgrim), Thomas Feiner, Anja Garbarek, Nina Kinert, David Sylvian, Joan Wasser (Joan as Police Woman).

Live content includes previously unreleased music as well as a live interpretation of the soundtrack 'Ascent' written for Shoko Ise's film installation 'Swimming in Qualia'.

DVD extra features include exclusive, unreleased collaborative works by Jansen & Ise - 4 film shorts with looped playback. High quality artwork designed by Shoko Ise.

The best price, including shipping (at exchange rates on 16th October 2008), is from the SamadhiSound store or HMV Japan. If the DVD arrives in time, I plan to play some of it during the party on November 29th. 



Richard Barbieri's new album "Stranger Inside"
Starnger Inside

Richard Barbieri's new solo album "Stranger Inside" is out now
on K Scope / Snapper Records. For all details including track lists, credits, music preview and a free MP3 download, visit the "Stranger Inside" mini site.  

Over the next few months Richard's own site will be developed further and it's hoped more free and exclusive downloads will be available.

I asked Richard who the blurred faces are on the artwork, he answered "They are the strangers inside"!

Steve working with John Foxx

According to his myspace page, John Foxx is working on ambient material with Steve Jansen. 



Japan, Rain Tree Crow and David Sylvian mini LP card sleeve re-issues
Card sleeve CDs

On July 2nd the following albums were re-released in Japan, in mini replicas of the original album covers:

Gentlemen Take Polaroids VJCP68872
Tin Drum VJCP68873
Oil On Canvas VJCP68874

Rain Tree Crow VJCP68875

David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees VJCP68876
David Sylvian - Gone To Earth  VJCP68877-78
David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive VJCP68879

These are followed on July 23rd by the Hansa era albums:

Adolescent Sex: BVCM-35413
Obscure Alternatives: BVCM-35414
Quiet Life: BVCM-35415
Assemblage: BVCM-35416

The contents of all releases are the same as the remastered versions that came out in the UK in 2003/2004. There is a boxed version of the Virgin releases available for order from Disk Union. However, to secure one you will need to ask a Japanese friend to get one for you, or use a buying service such as Japonica or Rinkya. This is because Disk Union will not sell to customers outside Japan. The box includes extra space for the Hansa era albums, available separately.


Site update - new various artists compilations page

This page includes information on over 180 various artists compilations featuring Japan. Some include material that you can not find anywhere else, so collectors should check it out. Currently I am cross-referencing this with the rest of the discography to make it easier to track down certain tracks that you can not buy on a Japan CD. 


 
David Sylvian update

David makes a contribution to the track "Honor Wishes" on the new Joan As Police Woman album "To Survive". Read more about this project and listen to a clip of "Honor Wishes" at davidsylvian.net. The UK iTunes store features a bonus track which features David on backing vocals, "No Question".

David is currently working on new material. Posts to the japan-pioneers Yahoo! Group have revealed that the new recordings feature guest appearances from Evan Parker, Christian Fennesz and John Tilbury.

Mikael from Sweden wrote in with some more news about Mr. Sylvian: Arve Henriksen has a new album out now on ECM records. David Sylvian is featured on 2 songs - "Before and afterlife" and "Thermal".

Mikael wrotes: "Some songs sound like Arve Henriksen, some sound like Jon Hassell and some sound like David Sylvian around Alchemy".

http://www.arvehenriksen.no/


David Sylvian "The World Is Everything" Tour 2007

David has now completed his tour. The first few shows in Scandanavia and the UK went well, but after the Royal Festival Hall performance the set was slightly shortened, omitting "Nostalgia", probably because the set was seen as a little long. In Rome the concert was interrupted by a female member of the audience who heckled David and tried to get on stage. Following the Italian dates the members of the band succumbed to a flu bug which unfortunately led to a couple of dates being cancelled. The tour resumed and completed with dates in Hong Kong, Osaka and Tokyo. Unfortunately the Tokyo show featured a shortened set as David, still under the weather, was losing his voice. The second half of the tour featured "Jean The Birdman". Despite setbacks, the tour performances were very well received. Reaction to most shows can be read in the archived of the japan-pioneers Yahoo! discussion group (link in the main menu above). 

Tour merchandise included a beautiful hardback book with a SamadhiSound label CD sampler including two brand new vocal tracks from David.

A new limited edition instrumental CD, "When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima" is available from 6th August from David's web shop.


July 2007

Yellow Magic Orchestra to play Live Earth!

Y.M.O. - Ryuichi Sakamoto, Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi - are headlining the Kyoto Live earth concert on July 7th. The event is expected to be broadcast worldwide and will be available on the internet via MSN. It will be the first time they have played live using the name "Yellow Magic Orchestra" in 25 years, as for legal and musical reasons until this point they have appeared as "XYMO" (not YMO) and "Human Audio Sponge". The latter has been used recently so that the audience are aware of the musical difference between "Human Audio Sponge" (more accoustic/experimental/glitchy) and "Y.M.O." (electronic pop/dance music). The lines were recently blurred when at the "Smile Together" charity show "H.A.S." played several "Y.M.O." tunes in electronic style and the Kirin Lager version of "Rydeen" (which uses accoustic guitar and other more "natural" sounds) was released under the original band name. Whatever, it is really exciting that Y.M.O. are playing and what would really make it special, and relevvant, would be a guest appearance from David Sylvian to perform "World Citizen (I Won't Be Disappointed)".  


14th April

David speaks about Toru Takemitsu

Sunday Feature, BBC Radio 3, 10pm, Sunday April 22nd.

Enter the Garden: Toru Takemitsu. The composer Takemitsu's music, philosophy and personality are explored alongside his attraction to the metaphor of the garden - 'I design gardens with music', claims Takemitsu, a Japanese artist who found success on the concert platforms of the West before returning to the cultural influences of his birthplace. Including interviews with his daughter Maki, film directors Masahiro Shinoda and Peter Grilli, composer Dai Fujikura, conductor Oliver Knussen, pop musician David Sylvian, a gardener from the Hama Rikyu garden in Tokyo and a previously unheard interview with the composer himself, recorded in the early 1990s.

Listen live:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/

Thankyou to Paul Green from the japan-pioneers Yahoo! Group for letting us know about the programme.



11th March

David Sylvian and Steve Jansen have been recording new material with Joan as Police Woman for Steve's album project, due out later this year on Samadhisound.

The Yellow Magic Orchestra have got back together for a promotional campaign for Kirin Lager. The soundtrack is "Rydeen 79/07", a download only single, which made No1 in the iTunes chart in Japan. The trio are playing live on 19th May in Yokohama, Japan under the name "Human Audio Sponge". 


28th January

David Sylvian and Steve Jansen as Nine Horses new mini-album "Money For All" was released 22nd January. For more about this release see below (Dec 21st 2006 entry). 

Mick Karn is planning live dates in Japan this Spring to promote his latest album "Three Part Species". For more information visit Mick's website www.mickkarn.net 

Richard Barbieri, as a member of The Porcupine Tree, has a new album out this Spring called "Fear Of A Blank Planet". The group will also be on tour from April. For details of dates and a whole lot more, visit the brilliant Porcupline Tree website www.porcupinetree.com

The Ippu-Do box set "Magic Vox" sold out on pre-orders and lots of people who waited until after Christmas to buy it have been disappointed. It is expected that the Ippu-Do best of album "Lunatic Menu" that includes a few remixes not included in the box set, will be re-issued. The songs are already available for official download at various Japanese sites e.g. Sony Music Online. 

Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi have both confirmed that they are involved in a celebration of Haruomi Hosono's work to mark his 60th birthday which is this July 9th. Several Hosono releases are in the works in the coming months, the first of which to be confirmed is a collection of his 1970's solo work, including a lot of rare material.

Holger Czukay has said that David Sylvian has worked with him on new, expanded versions of "Plight and Premonition" and "Flux and Mutability" for release later in 2007. Both albums, which consist of long experimental pieces of music, were originally released in the late 1980's. 

The UK BBC TV "Holiday" programme broadcast a segment about Tokyo on Wednesday 24th January. Background music included Japan's "A Foreign Place" and "Temple of Dawn" plus Sakamoto's theme from "Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence". An overview of the programme content is at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/holiday/destinations/japan_tokyo/

If you have any news items relating to Japan, the solo members and associated artists please email me at night.porter@ntlworld.com


21st December

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Thankyou to everyone who has contributed to the site this year. February 2007 is the 10th anniversary of Nightporter going online, under its original name "Japan Assemblage" on Compuserve. Some of those first pages still exist in the depths of this site! Over the next few weeks I'll be recalling some of the events in Japan/solo fandom over the last decade. But don't wait for me to write things - join the Yahoo! Group and start some discussions. It always gets busy at the beginning of the year and it will this time around, with new releases from Nine Horses (David Sylvian and Steve Jansen) and live dates from Mick Karn coming up. 


"Money For All" by Nine Horses due out in the UK, January. 

This new CD from Steve Jansen, David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman is the follow up to the critically acclaimed "Snow Borne Sorrow". It features two stunning new tracks "Money For All" and "Get The Hell Out". Both showcase Sylvian and Jansen at their best. "Money For All" again has Sylvian in great narrative form, beginning with an all too familiar description of the airport shoe shuffle before touching on personal debt, online gambling, the consumer society and people's perceptions of others because of where they are from rather than who they are. Some people have said they are tiring of Sylvian's political commentary but not me. Not when he does it with such style and wit. This is the Sylvian I like - just as much as I did when I was a kid and his political concerns were less global and more about his experience as a teenager in London. There are even backing singers with bags of soul, great vocal harmonies.

"Get The Hell Out" is very different, much more Jansen, great rhythm track and bass sequencers, and then strings to back up Sylvian's warnings to the mysterious "Caroline" who we last heard about in "Exit/Delete" (Sylvian's guest spot on Tagaki Masakatsu's "Coedia" album). Again, the lyrics and performance really take you on a journey, if a bit of an uncomfortable one. The message here is not specific, this is the observational Sylvian and you are not sure if he is writing from personal experience. The song makes me think of some non-existent "Lost" flashback involving Sawyer and Kate; a bit disconcerting on the 17.30 from Kings Cross but not unwelcome. Who is "Caroline"? Someone tell me. The rest of the tracks on the album are remixes of numbers from "Snow Borne Sorrow", plus the Japanese bonus "Birds Sing For Their Lives" with a vocal from Stina Nordensam. It's all good - but the first two songs are the best.    

Best wishes

Paul


24th November

The "Pretty In Pink" Japan Party, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the release of the "Tin Drum" album took place on 23rd November in London. Many thanks to Sean who organised the night. I could not make it there but Sean has reported that it was a real buzz for him to see so many people dancing to Japan. Tracks played included most of "Tin Drum" plus plenty of others from the back catalogue.  

Something new:

The first Samadhisound Podcast by David Sylvian and Steve Jansen is online now and it is a real treat. Hear a unique continuous mix of works from their label catalogue including a stunning central suite of tracks from "Blemish" featuring Derek Bailey. The podcast ends with a clip of a new song "Money For All". Get the podcast now at the following URL: itpc://podcast.sylvian.oxfordmusic.net/podcast.xml



11th November

En Plats I Solen coverMick Karn and Richard Barbieri on new Lustans Lakejer remasters!

In 1982, while Steve Jansen and David Sylvian were in Japan working with Ippu-Do (see below), Sandii & The Sunsetz and Takahashi, Mick and Rich went to ABBA's Polar Studios in Stockholm to record with Swedish group Lustans Lakejer. Richard produced the sessions, resulting in the albums "En Plats I Solen" and "A Place In The Sun" (an English language version with some different songs). "A Place In The Sun" was released in a number of countries under the more media-friendly band name "Vanity Fair". This November Lustans Lakejer are having their back catalogue re-released by Stranded Records, all titles having bonus tracks - mostly 12" singles and b-sides. More information can be found at this Swedish store and a Lustans Lakejer fan site.



10th November

The other side of Japan

Steve Jansen is selling display quality prints of unpublished photographs taken by him during the Japan years. Photographs include candid and portrait work of David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, Ryuichi Sakamoto and others. You should have a look as some of the images show a side of Japan that was not on public view at the time they were active. I hope that Steve's venture is a success and that one day he may be able to publish a book of his work. For more information and to see those photographs visit Steve's Imageshop



7th November 2006

Rob Dean - a rare sighting in Costa Rica!

Esteban from Costa Rica has emailed to say he has seen Rob Dean make a guest appearance with a group called Tribal. Rob played on two songs, including solos with "amazing fuzzy guitar". Esteban has said he may have some photo evidence of this rarely seen specimen soon. 

Lots of Steve Jansen (and some Sylvian)

Check out Steve's section at SamadhiSound for some new music and stunning photography of David and Masami Tsuchiya in Paris, 1982. Also look for the shots of Yukihiro Takahashi and Sweet Billy Pilgrim from their recent Japanese tour. After you have done that you must visit Sweet Billy Pilgrim's brilliant blog for more about Jansen, Takahashi, his Tokyo experiences, and for one Sylvian related anecdote that will leave you smiling all week. Further coverage of the Japanese tour can be found at Yukihiro Takahashi's website, including images of the tour merchandise.  

Anthony Reynolds - Jack "Pioneer Soundtracks"

One of this site's contributors Anthony Reynolds has his debut album with Jack ("Pioneer Soundtracks") re-released in expanded form this month. The album includes a Sylvian sample, I'm not saying where and what, you will need to find it yourselves. Check out his website. Anthony is working soon with former Sylvian collaborators Readymade on a new project. 


15th October 2006

Akira Mitake and Masami Tsuchiya in LondonIppu-Do "Magic Vox" CD and DVD box set due out December 20th in Japan. 

Japan members, Sandii, Bill Nelson and Ryuichi Sakamoto all feature.

The box set will include the Ippu-Do albums "Normal" (1979), "Real" (1980), "Radio Fantasy" (1981), "Night Mirage" (1983), "Live & Zen" (1984), "Rice Music" by Masami Tsuchiya and "Out of Reach" by Akira Mitake. Included are many tracks featuring performances by Mick Karn, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri. Sandii provides backing vocals on several songs while Bill Nelson and Ryuichi Sakamoto make guest appearances on "Rice Music". The icing on the cake is that this set comes with a DVD of previously unreleased video clips and performances. All albums with the exception of "Real" feature bonus tracks. 

Why be interested? Ippu-Do's front man and main songwriter Masami Tsuchiya was a member of Japan for their final tour and "Oil on Canvas". However, before that his band Ippu-Do were one of the groups contemporary to Japan that were directly influenced by their sound and style. From "Radio Fantasy" on there are clear similarities to the Japan sound, with all the subsequent relases featuring the group themselves. "Out of Reach" by Akira Mitake was produced by Richard Barbieri and is a lost gem, with a lovely smooth pop production - something later continued on the Dolphin Brothers album. I also enjoy the first two Ippu-Do albums, where Masami works through his interests in 60s guitar bands and German electronic and prog sounds - often in the same songs. Like the first two Japan albums, they have a raw sound that is pretty compelling and a nice contrast to some of the more refined material on the later recordings. Like "Nightporter"? Check out "Crystal Leaves" on "Night Mirage", a truly beautiful number. Nearer the release date there will be audio clips available on the Sony website so you can sample the sound of Ippu-Do for yourself.    



September 2006

Hansa era remastered albums re-issued in jewel cases.

Now at mid-price, all four albums ("Adolescent Sex", "Obscure Alternatives", "Quiet Life" and "Assemblage") include the same content as the 2004 releases, but have amended booklets. The reason BMG are doing this is that it is cheaper to produce jewel case CD's than digipacks. The CD's will have the same catalogue numbers as the digipack versions, but there is a lower price so people should be aware of which version they are buying if using online stores. 



2nd July 2006

"Assemblage" and "Obscure Alternatives" remasters fixed!

When the remastered versions of "Obscure Alternatives" and "Assemblage" were released in 2004 there were a few errors. These have now been fixed. Collectors of course will want both versions! The errors that are now fixed were: on "Obscure Alternatives" the title track has an edited intro. On "Assemblage" the intro to "Adolescent Sex" was edited and the incorrect version of "Life In Tokyo" was included as one of the bonus tracks. The CD used to include the original 12" version, it now features the mix that was on the cassette version of "Assemblage". 

But how do you tell the new versions from the old? Ian from the Yahoo! Group Japan-Pioneers (join via the link above) posted the following message: 

Alternate shot from the Assemblage LP session

"For fellow trainspotters only here on in...

I'm assuming that most of the copies for sale as new in the shops
feature the corrected version. Unfortunately, there is no visible
way to tell the versions apart; i.e. no changes to the sleeve
desgn/catalogue number or the like. Even the disc designs are
identical. But to help anyone else who wants to check before parting
with any money (assuming they can make such checks) here are some small difference I've spotted between my original version (with the mistakes) and the remaster;

- the cover no longer has the sticker on the front detailing the
contents (i.e. remastered, contains videos etc)

- the disc itself while identical does have some differences if you
hold it up to the light and look at the computer number codes in the
centre by the spindle hole


-- original version with mistakes: has a 'Deluxe' mark (I'm assuming
this is the pressing factory) and the number IFPL8723 (and smaller,
backwards print: IFPL 502 82876566962 01)


-- the corrected remaster version: has a 'Sonopress' mark (again,
the pressing factory?) and the numbers are: 513 16550 / 82896566962 21

OK, you might need to get your microscopes out on that one. ;-)"

Many thanks Ian!


Discography updates

Today I have uploaded updated pages for "Obscure Alternatives", the Canadian "Special Edition" EP, "Life In Tokyo" and the USA "Japan" LP. There are still many items to add, uploads are happening at least weekly so keep checking back.


17th June

Competition Closed! The winner is Trevor from London. Thankyou to everyone who entered. There will be more competitions in the future - watch this space. 


Japan members featured on forthcoming Japanese releases!

I am very pleased to announce that some of the best 80s albums by Sandii & The Sunsetz and Yukihiro Takahashi are being re-released in remastered form in Japan this year. Even better, Takahashi gets a DVD featuring Steve Jansen. The titles and release dates: (Thankyou to Theo Spadlo and HMV Japan)

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI - BOYS WILL BE BOYS (DVD) (Sony Music Entertainment: MHBL 20). Recorded Live August 1983 at Shibuya Koukaidou. Tour members were Yukihiro Takahashi, Keiichi Suzuki, Bill Nelson, Hajime Tachibana and David Palmer. The band's costumes are very fetching school uniforms. I did not recognise Keiichi Suzuki as he has a funny looking "bowl" haircut! Takahashi dvd cover
DVD Track List:
1. RIPPLE
2. MY BRIGHT TOMORROW
3. KAGEROU
4. MAEBURE
5. ARK DIAMANT
6. SAYONARA
7. FLASHBACK
8. THE REAL YOU
9. ARE YOU RECEIVING ME?
10. ITS ALL TOO MUCH
11. ITS GONNA WORK OUT
12. THE APRIL FOOLS

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI & TOHRU KAWASAKI - SHIN-SEINEN (DVD)
(Sony Music Entertainment: MHBL 21). Recorded Live on October 27, 1984 at NHK Hall. Tour members were Yukihiro Takahashi, Iva Davies, Mitsuru Sawamura, Hajime Tachibana, Rodney Drummer and Steve Jansen. Guest musician (on the DVD): Haruomi Hosono (appears in THE PRICE TO PAY). I have never seen this film so can not comment on how much we actually see of Mr Jansen. 

DVD Song List:
1. WILD & MOODY
2. STRANGER THINGS HAVE HAPPENED
3. MURDERED BY THE MUSIC
4. DISPOSABLE LOVE
5. HELPLESS
6. DAY TRIPPER
7. THE PRICE TO PAY

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI - TOMORROWS JUST ANOTHER DAY (CD)
(Sony Music Entertainment: MHCL 791). This album was originally released in 1983 and is one of my favourites. It compliments Japan very well and is one of the albums that sounds like The Dolphin Brothers. Guest musicians are Pierre Barouh, Bill Nelson, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono.

TIME AND PLACE - YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI LIVE 1983 (CD) (Sony Music Entertainment: MHCL 792). This features some different songs to the DVD release "Boys Will Be Boys", including a duet version of "Drip Dry Eyes" featuring Sandii and a new studio track "Happiness Is Happening".

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI - WILD & MOODY (CD) (Sony Music Entertainment: MHCL 793). This album includes "Stranger Things Have Happened", a UK single written by Steve Jansen.

YUKIHIRO TAKAHASHI - POISSON D'AVRIL (CD) (Sony Music Entertainment: MHCL 794). This is the soundtrack to Yukihiro's comedy film of the same name. All four CDs will have Mini LP Style Cardboard Sleeves.


Sandii & The Sunsetz remasters out 13th September 2006:Sandii LP Immigrants

Sandii - "Eating Pleasure" (Sony MHCL855), Sunsetz - "Heat Scale" (Sony MHCL858), "Immigrants" (featuring David Sylvian on three songs) (Sony MHCL856) and "Viva Lava Liva" (Sony MHCL857). The latter includes three live tracks recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon at the same time as "Oil On Canvas", so if you want to you can re-create the experience of the final Japan tour at home! For more Sandii news scroll down this page.   



11th June

Competition - win "The Very Best of Japan" CD and DVD.

Completists out there will want this as both are press copies with a promotional sticker. To win this fabulous prize (kindly donated by D) please answer the following question: What was the song that Japan performed when they made their debut appearance on "Top of the Pops"? Email your answers to night.porter@ntlworld.com 

Site Updates: Check out some new record label scans and sleeve images in the discography, kindly provided by Stefan, The Ozboyz, Vince and Paul W. Between them I have received over FIFTY new items to add to the pages on there. All will be included eventually but it takes time to get them resized and added to each page of the discography.



28th MayJapan 1977

Japan's first demo tape found!

Apologies for the lack of updates, I have been on holiday in Japan. I had a great time and managed to pick up some cool Japan and YMO related things, some of which will be appearing on this site very soon. However, two items emailed to me are far more interesting. MD found an original copy (on reel to reel format) of the very first Japan demo tape. I sent Simon Napier-Bell some images of it and he has verified it is the real thing: "Wow! Instantly evocative. I recognise my typed label, the tape box, the picture, everything. It was the first demo tape I made of them (and the first photo I had taken of them) when I'd just chanced on them and thought the world would find them instantly irresistible.
Amongst the 
many great replies was one from one of the A&R guys at Pye who said Mick didn't know how toJapan demo tape play his bass and the group would never get anywhere until they changed their bass player. And another classic, from CBS. "This group have potential. Unfotunately we don't invest in potential." (Could be the death-nell explanation of the current music industry decline)".  Meanwhile, I have put MD in contact with a musician friend who should be able to get the tape archived. It is in reel to reel format and has not been played by its present owner. I don't need to tell you how important this find is. Keep your fingers crossed that we are able to hear it one day.


Quiet Life LP coloured vinylCollectors Corner 3: Quiet Life coloured vinyl LP

This item was sent in by Martin Horler. Take note of the typography of the label which is different to the regular one, which uses the "Japan" logo. Martin has been told that the album is in "brown" vinyl. Does anyone know any more about it? Some Japanese pressings look like this when held up to the light, but this is not a Japanese pressing - it is manufactured by Pye in England.  



Japan acetate - Performance30th April

Collectors Corner 2: 1978 Acetate

This acetate, apparently once the property of David Sylvian himself,  was auctioned on Ebay in 2005. It includes 4 songs, "Communist China", "The Unconventional", "Performance (not album mix)" and "Don't Rain On My Parade (not album mix)". What is an acetate?: "An acetate looks like a vinyl record, but it is actually a metal plate covered in a layer of acetone. Acetates are much more stiff and more dense than a vinyl record. Also, since they are not made to sell, an acetate usually has a handwritten or typewritten label and a plain sleeve is used to store it." (taken from http://www.styxcollector.com/vinylresources.html). 


24th April

Uncut magazine has published a good review of "The Very Best of Japan" and the cover mounted CD features "Nightporter". A small picture of David appears at the bottom right of the insert. The magazine also has an illustration of the Japan singer at the beginning of the reviews section and a full band shot with the review itself. Reviews of the CD and DVD have also appeared in Record Collector and Classic Rock, the latter piece by Geoff Barton, who mentions the lack of early material.


20th April

Japan's p***s and the mystery of the "Shut Up" sleeve

I asked Simon Napier-Bell about that "Shut Up" sleeve (see below). He did not know about that but has given us something else pretty special to have a look at! Check it out at his site

If you know Portugese you might like to read this page

I also received the following email from Twan:

Hello,
in the collector's corner i noticed your request for more info on this single, I own both copies so i can compare them. Everything looks identical: sleeve label vinyl matrix no. etc. The only major difference is that the regular version (don't rain) is printed in orange/red where 'shut up' is in magenta. Also the black/white picture on Shut Up is more a brownish black/white, almost like an old photograph. Hope this is of any help.
cheers,
Twan


A BIG THANKYOU to everyone who contributed to the website hosting fees (see 14th April below) - enough was raised and it will enable me to keep the site running for another year.


Gentlemen Take Polaroids photo session17th April

Virgin/EMI to re-isssue Japan and solo titles at mid-price

On May 29th Virgin/EMI are re-issuing "Gentlemen Take Polaroids", "Tin Drum", "Oil On Canvas", "Rain Tree Crow", "Brilliant Trees", "Gone To Earth", "Alchemy" and "Secrets of the Beehive" at mid-price. 

"Tin Drum" will be a re-package without the box, photo book and "Art of Parties" CD single, so if you have not bought that edition yet, do so now. 


Shut Up sleeve variation

Collectors Corner

I love it when people go through the discography and find "new" things that I did not know about. I love it so much that I have decided to feature the best new additions here, before they are added to the discography. I hope you approve - let me know.

Adolescent Sex/Don't Rain On My Parade - unusual Spanish sleeve

This is a new one for me - the back sleeve has "Shut Up" written on it in the place of "Don't Rain On My Parade". Also, there is some additional text at the bottom right corner of the sleeve, "L.G. EL SIGLO XX. SA - Av. Fabergada, s - Hospitales (1978)". Click here to view the full size versionEmail me if you know more! Photo provided by Martin H. 

Deviation acetate

Deviation USA acetate/test pressing

I have never seen this before either! Thankyou for sending it in Martin.  For a higher resolution image, click on this link.

Coming in the next few days - bizarre "pirate" tapes, unusual test pressings and acetates with unreleased tracks...




News UpdatesRyuichi Sakamoto on stage 2005

Steve Jansen remixes Sakamoto

The new Ryuichi Sakamoto remix album "Bricolages" includes "Break With" remixed by Steve. Other people on the CD are Haruomi Hosono, Cornelius, Christian Fennesz and Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto). The album is due out on May 24th in Japan and from online retailers, catalogue number Warner WPCL-10315.


The Very Best of Japan DVD coverFurther fan comments about "The Very Best of Japan" CD and DVD:

KC wrote:

"Just to repeat what others have said, really. The CD is utterly pointless, the packaging is sloppy and full of typos, it completely ignores the fact that Japan were a band, so ultimately, it serves no purpose whatsoever, other than as a purchase for the completist. It’s an insult the people who made the music, as well as their fans.

The DVD version of Oil on Canvas, however, is a different matter.  I’ve been waiting for this to be reissued ever since my old video version was stolen way back in 1990! That said, the packaging is sloppy and I’m sure they’ve got the running order mixed up in there as well."

PN wrote:

"I'm sorry but looking at the track listing, I see tracks I already have in my collection and nothing new. I will not be parting with my money just for another album sleeve as that is all you are doing.

Unfortunately Hansa and Virgin have been bleeding us dry for years without anything new to offer!"

TE wrote:

"I have been reading your comments on the new “The Very Best of Japan” CD/DVD set with interest.

I completely agree with everything you say and think you are right to have a “bitch” about it. I am amazed that a record company as big as EMI didn’t take the time to make themselves “familiar” with Japan’s material and get all their facts straight before the artwork went to press. EMI have missed an opportunity here and with some careful thought and planning “The Very Best of Japan” could have been GREAT as you say. It would have been wonderful to have those original 7” single edits all on one album. If EMI felt it essential to include some album versions, they could have been tagged on the end as alternatives or something – perhaps make it a double CD.

Another thing that has really frustrated me is that on the DVD, the Hammersmith concert is listed as 1983 !  Japan had split up at the very end of 1982. I was also at one of the concerts that was being filmed for the Oil on Canvas video so I know for a fact it was November 1982. Some might think these are minor details but it does irritate me to say the least."

Thankyou to everyone who has written in about the CD and DVD. It is good to know that there are a LOT of people out there who care about the treatment of Japan's back catalogue. 


5th April (Updated 17th June)

Sandii in Hawaii, 2005New Sandii album and new "Greatest Hits"! The new album (out on June 21st on Pony-Canyon) is called "Mele O Aloha" and features The Coconut Cups. The material is Hawaiian and Tahitian inspired but is expected to be more in the pop style than traditional music. The best of collection is called "Sandii's Love Pacific" and is being released by Sony on July 19th. The collection includes material drawn from Sandii's 1990s and more recent albums and concentrates on songs that have a Polynesian/Hawaiian/Tahitian flavour. Sandii recorded three new tracks for this release. 


1st April

"The Very Best of Japan" has prompted more email, including information from another third party stating categorically that David Sylvian had nothing to do with the track listing of the CD. So who knows what the truth is!? Meanwhile, on the Japan-Pioneers list there has been some fun as someone made some insulting remarks about Tim Bowness only to find out that Tim is an active member of the group... Luckilly things have been sorted out but it just shows you never know who might be reading so be careful what you post! 



31st March

"The Very Best of Japan" CD has prompted a huge increase in email to the site. None of it is good. A lot of people are disappointed that the CD includes album versions of songs. While it is generally agreed that these are the definitive versions, the longtime fans have also waited for years to buy the "single" versions of several songs. These are the songs that first introduced many of us to Japan, they were the ones played on the radio, the ones that evoke the strongest memories. Here are some quotes from the emails that I have received:

"...but what a gratifying and, at the same time, irritating release.  don't want 'methods of dance' or the album version of 'ghosts' - i mean, why ?"

"...can't help but feel a little pissed at being mislead . . ."

"I bought this disc because I thought it was going to contain some single edits and mixes which I didn't already own - but as you note on your Nightporter site, every single track on there was already included in the remastered CDs of 2003, so I've just wasted my money! :-/

You'd think if they were putting together a "greatest hits" CD for the
"casual" buyer, they'd bother to include all the special edits of tracks
that were made back in the day, precisely for such a purpose.

Also if I were a band member, I'd probably be rather disgruntled that
there's no photograph of any of them apart from Sylvian, or any listing in the CD booklet of who any of the musicians are. But then I expect they're used to that by now! Oh well...."

"What about the other members of Japan? Are they being written out of history?"

"EMI has done a remarkable job with so many other artist reissues (Duran Duran, Ultravox, Human League, OMD, Pet Shop Boys) so why have they dropped the ball on Japan?"

So who was responsible for deciding the final tracklisting of the CD? Not Virgin, EMI or BMG apparently. It was allegedly David Sylvian - he preferred the full length album versions of songs to the edited versions. While I have to agree that, yes, the album versions are the best ones, it is a shame that we can not have the option of buying the singles on CD. 


26th March

Mick Karn new singleNew Mick Karn single "Of & About" available from HMV shops, Amazon from 3rd April  and online at www.mickkarn.net now! 

Mick is also touring the UK in May, see further down this page for the dates. His new album, "Three Part Species" is now due out in June.

"Wonderful World" EP by Nine Horses out on Monday 27th March. 

The main reason for buying this single must be the non album track "When Monday Comes Around", featuring a rasping Sylvian vocal, almost sinister. The backing is quite sparse. Although credited to Nine Horses, Burnt Friedman does not appear on this track which is a Sylvian and Jansen co-write. The single edit of "Wonderful World" sounds remixed to me, with a little extra percussion. In terms of packaging, do not let the online images put you off, the digipack is really nice, with full credits inside and a picture of the group on the back. The text is a lot easier to read than on "Snow Borne Sorrow". 

"The Very Best of Japan" CD and DVD out on Monday 27th March.

The DVD is great - "Oil on Canvas" has never looked better, nor have most of the promo video clips - and check out the alternate mix of "Swing".  Sadly, "Life in Tokyo" is a little pixelly but I believe it is better to have this in slightly poor quality than not at all. Now about the CD - stop reading now if you can't abide whingeing...

Longtime readers of this site will not be surprised to learn that yet again mistakes have been made with a Japan CD release. It is good that this album is available, but with a little more thought it could have been GREAT. I was quite excited about the original tracklisting as it was rather cool - all of the 7" single hits on one CD - fabulous. Sadly, as I should have expected, the record company's apparent unfamiliarity with the material has let them down. Specifically, "I Second That Emotion", "European Son", "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" and "Nightporter" are the regular album versions. "The Art of Parties" is the 12" version, also available on "Exorcising Ghosts". "Canton" is also the same as on "Oil on Canvas". A lot of the credits are also incorrect. I'm not going to list them all here. Why should I be bothered about such details? Apologies for the bitch but when will a record company take the back catalogue of this group seriously and get things right?


Simon Napier-Bell writes about Danny Morgan, a figure from the early days of Japan, in his column dated January 22, find it by clicking the link here.

NEWS UPDATES & OPINIONS: Archive 

March 2006

"The Very Best of Japan" on CD and DVD special offer

Townsend Records logo and web linkThe £50 (UKP) to spend on the Japan and solo back catalogue was won by a UK based fan, details will be disclosed if he gives permission. Congratulations and thankyou to Townsend Records for running the competition/offer. 

Best of Japan DVD cover

"The Very Best of Japan" on CD and DVD. Available from March 27th. CD catalogue number CDV3018. DVD catalogue number VDVD11.

CD includes all of the UK hit singles on one release for the first time.

DVD includes all the hit single promotional videos, plus "Oil on Canvas". 

Sleeve notes written by Chris Roberts. 

Nine Horses "Wonderful World" UK CD single is also released on March 27th. This includes the previously unreleased song "When Monday Comes Around" and a radio edit of the title track.


Stefan reported to the Yahoo! Group that the Nine Horses (David Sylvian & Steve Jansen) album has won a prestigious German record critics award, the "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik". Meanwhile, the single "Wonderful World" will be released on March 27th in UK stores and online. The CD only single includes the non album track "When Monday Comes Around" and a radio edit of the title track.



Tamahime Sama

It seems that someone must have been listening (see archive news for 2005) - "Tamahime Sama" and the other Alfa/Yen Records albums by Jun Togawa are being re-released this Spring in Japan by Sony. Most have been unavailable on CD for over a decade. Togawa is a very unusual singer with a wide vocal range. Her material can be quite challenging, both in terms of arrangement, vocal performance and lyrical content, addressing issues such as mental illness, suicide and abuse. It is also often humorous, never boring or predictable. Her voice is sometimes deep and growling, sometimes very high-pitched and OTT girly, but when the material demands it she can sing beautifully. Togawa has no direct connection to Japan or the former members solo careers but she has worked with Hosono and a number of other artists that have worked with Sylvian and co.


January 2006

Susan concert flyer

Susan, the singer based in Japan who is a friend and collaborator with Masami Tsuchiya, Yukihiro Takahashi and Sandii performed a special Valentines show on Sunday 5th February at Milk in Tokyo. For reports visit Susan's website. I'm pleased Susan is recording new material with a band who respect her 80's work and also the need for something new. Bravo!


Sylvian to tour? Some Italian promoters have stated in the past week that David may be playing live later this year. The story has been denied by Opium (his management office) but they have not ruled out the possibility.


December 2005

I'm getting a lot of requests for Japan lyrics - they are available on the website "Slowfire" which is well worth checking out.

The other request I am getting is for videos on DVD, or copies of TV appearances. Sadly, there is little available from official sources. I would recommend you join the Yahoo! Group, make friends with people and they will no doubt trade with you. The only other alternative is to buy from Ebay. I would urge you to investigate the making friends option first - it will be cheaper and you will also be in the loop for the time when official releases are due.

Best wishes for the holiday season from Paul.


November 2005

The Japan albums "Adolescent Sex" (BVCM37218), "Obscure Alternatives" (BVCM37219), "Quiet Life" (BVCM37220) and "Assemblage"(BVCM37221) are being re-released in replica LP sleeves at budget price in Japan on 21st December. These are 24-bit remastered using the JVC K2 system and are the same as the versions released in Japan in 2001. The price for each is 2,100 Yen (£10.50).  (Contributor - Scott Truelove).


Paul Morley has recorded a cover version of "Ghosts" under the name Infantjoy. The track is included on the album "Where The Night Goes" (Sony Classical 82876738772) which was released on November 21st. (Contributor - Thomas Furch).


New to iTunes UK - "Tiki Tiki" by Jazztronik featuring Sandii - just the thing for those cold winter evenings when you've been listening to a little too much Sylvian. The album is exotic dance/pop with a sense of humour ("An Occasional Man") and also some dreamy moments ("Calling You", "Midnight at the Oasis"). Another track available on UK iTunes now is the current hit single (in Japan) by Miu Sakamoto, a cover of "Never Ending Story".


The new album from David Sylvian and Steve Jansen under the name Nine Horses, "Snow Borne Sorrow" continues to receive glowing reviews in the first month of release. It charted in Italy but other sales information has not been available. Some advance purchasers were disappointed by the service from the Samadhi Sound online store, who failed to deliver the album on the release date. This may have been because the stock was exported from the USA - it was notable that American buyers received their copies on time. I had no trouble finding the album in UK music stores in the North of England on the release date. It was also reported that the album was widely available in Japan a week before the official release date. Visit the Samadhi Sound website for sound and video clips of the album (which is excellent) and a lot of background information on the project.


October 2005

The other news item people have been talking about is the new album from Kate Bush, which was supposed to include a guest appearance from Mick Karn on the song "How To Be Invisible". I hope that the version of the song featuring Mick may appear on a future single. I think the album is great, particularly the second disc.

More information about Kate Bush is on the marvellous site Kate Bush News


Sundays at 9pm starting October 23rd - BBC2, UK: "Girls and Boys: Sex and British Pop". This TV series is based on former Japan manager Simon Napier-Bell's best-selling book "Black Vinyl White Powder". I have been told that Japan are not featured, but from what I have seen so far it is an enjoyable series full of great archive footage of artists who challenged society's views on gender and sexuality.

Check out Anthony Reynolds' website for a new interview with Davidhttp://www.anthonyreynolds.net/pages/writings_david_sylvian.htm .


Nine Horses - Friedman, Sylvian, JansenThe new album from David Sylvian and Steve Jansen is released under the band name Nine Horses. It is a collaboration with Burnt Friedman and a number of other guest musicians, including Ryuichi Sakamoto and Stina Nordenstam.  The album title is "Snow Borne Sorrow", UK catalogue number Samadhi Sound SS006. Release date 24th October 2005. More information, including the download single "Wonderful World" is at http://www.ninehorses.com . The album is marvellous. It is by no means easy listening, but is very accessible, dare I say enjoyable, but has a lot of depth and I am sure will provoke much discussion among followers of Sylvian's work for quite some time. Buy it!

One man and his God (only joking)Ryuichi Sakamoto appeared at the Barbican in London on October 10th with Alva Noto, performing improvised pieces and material from the album "Insen". As Ryuichi played piano, Carsten (Alva Noto) manipulated the sound and added beats and electronic noises. This was fed through to video screens that reacted to what was being played, creating animations that at times appeared like a game, and at others was very hypnotic. The final number was a radical interpretation of "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence". I was lucky to meet Mr Sakamoto after the show and he was a gentleman. I appreciate the time he took for a brief chat, although of course how do you put over 20 years of questions you always wanted to ask into a few minutes without coming across as a total nutter? 

Mick Karn has a new EP out called "Love's Glove" - for more information visit the shop at his website www.mickkarn.net. It is available as a download or as an actual CD. Downloads are available now, the CD's are being mailed out to those who have ordered them soon.

Sandii in August 2005, photo by RustyLast month I was able to talk to Sandii through a mutual friend. An article I've written since has been submitted to a magazine and details of the publication will be available soon. Sandii has just graduated as Kumu Hula after six years of study, attaining the same level of qualification as her teacher Pattye Wright. Sandii is now making plans to record new material, while continuing to run her Hula studios in Tokyo and Yokohama.  Visit her website here.

Sunsetz members Keni Inoue and Hideo Inoura recently performed at the Fuji Rock Festival in a band fronted by Keni's wife Kathie. Their music is a combination of reggae and Hawaiian styles. The trio have also worked with Sandii collaborator Yuki Yamaguchi and Sumo legend (and popular performer) Konisihki.

Masami Tsuchiya and Yukihiro Takahashi recently made a guest appearance at a one-off show by Susan. Check out some photos and video clips at Susan's website.


PAUL SAYS:

Check out simonnapierbell.com daily! Simon's site is one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking on the net and is one of the few where the person whose site it is actually updates it themselves, several times a week. Simon occasionally posts snippets of information about Japan, all of which are in the archives at his site.

BUY THIS CD!BUY THE NINE HORSES ALBUM "SNOW BORNE SORROW". IN A SHOP. A NEW COPY. NOT A USED ONE OFF EBAY OR AT THE MUSIC EXCHANGE IN NOTTING HILL GATE. DOWNLOAD IT IF YOU REALLY MUST BUT THEN GO OUT AND BUY IT! YOU WILL BENEFIT FROM KNOWING YOU HAVE DONE THE RIGHT THING. AND NINE HORSES WILL LOVE YOU*

*PLEASE NOTE THIS IS IN A PURELY PLATONIC SENSE AS A FELLOW WORLD CITIZEN AND A PERSON OF UNQUESTIONABLE GOOD TASTE.

This week, apart from the Nine Horses album I'm listening to "Tamahime Sama" (Yen Records, 1984) by Jun Togawa which you can't buy in shops as it is deleted. Someone re-release it please!


Japan and David Sylvian appear in the Simon Napier Bell book "I'm Coming To Take You To Lunch", on sale now. The book chronicles Simon's career from the early 80's when he was managing Japan, Sylvian and Wham! It gives a good impression of the characters surrounding the Nomis/Opium offices at the time and is a really good read. The book is being sold on it's Wham! content but the main focus of it is Napier Bell's adventures in foreign countries, making business contacts and sometimes getting into potentially dodgy situations, usually in Chinese restaurants. Buy it and just maybe he'll be compelled to write about 1976 - 1982, the only period he has not written about in depth so far. Read the 2002 Nightporter email interview with Simon here.

Japan are featured in the UK magazines "NME Originals 80's" (thanks for tipping me off about that one Stefan!) and Q/Mojo "Depeche Mode and the story of Electropop". The latter also features Y.M.O. and gives a brief update on the current solo work of the ex-Japan members. "Classic Rock" magazine (March 2005) features a great Japan photo as part of a feature on Richard Barbieri and Porcupine Tree.

David Sylvian's album "The Good Son vs The Only Daughter" released 7th February 2005. Click here for more information.

Richard Barbieri's album "Things Buried" available now. More information at Richard's official website.


Read the Richard Barbieri Q&A



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