JAPAN - quiet life (1980)
David Sylvian: Vocals, occasional guitar
Mick Karn: Bass, saxophones
Steve Jansen: Drums, percussion
Richard Barbieri: Synthesizers, keyboards
Rob Dean: Guitars
Produced by John Punter
01 Quiet Life
02 Fall In Love With Me
04 In Vogue
06 All Tomorrow's Parties
08 The Other Side Of Life
Link to download:
Formed in London, England in early 1974, Japan comprised David Sylvian (vocals), his brother Steve Jansen (drums), Richard Barbieri (keyboards) and Mick Karn (saxophone/bass). A guitarist, Rob Dean, was added to the line-up when the band won a recording contract with the German record company Ariola-Hansa. Eminently unfashionable in the UK punk era, they first found success in Japan. After three albums with Ariola-Hansa, they switched to Virgin Records in 1980 and found their fortunes dramatically improving thanks to the surge of popularity in the New Romantic movement. Japan's androgynous image made them suddenly fashionable and they registered a several UK Top 20 singles. Their albums Gentlemen Take Polaroids (1980) and Tin Drum (1981) were also well received. Disagreements between Karn and Sylvian undermined the band's progress just as they were achieving some long-overdue success, and they split in late 1982.The members diversified into collaborative work and solo careers, reuniting (minus Dean) in 1991 for a project under the moniker of Rain Tree Crow.
"Japan entered the modern world with 'Quiet Life'. The choice of producer John Punter--who had worked with Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry--was significant, as the band's sights had shifted from gutter-glam to elegant decadence. A cover of the Velvet Underground's All Tomorrow's Parties allows Japan--and especially Sylvian, sporting a totally revised singing voice--to show off their new suave reserve, relying on sequencers, Mick Karn's proto-funk basswork and generally understated aplomb."
""Quiet Life" was an emormous leap for Japan. Released less than two years after their debut and just fifteen months after their most recent album, it seems as if just about everything about the band changed in that window. Gone were the overt guitars, the aggressive rock songs, and nearly all of the glam overtones in the music. David Sylvian's compositions became more atmospheric, relying heavily on synthesizers rather than the guitars that were so prevelent and taking advantage of Mick Karn's saxophone talents to add more variety to the music. Equally critical were the stylistic developments of both Sylvian's vocal and Karn's bass playing-- coming nearer to their final sound, Sylvian sung in a more comfortable tenor-- not quite the smoky depth he'd pursue in his solo career, but without that nasal/glam edge he'd been singing with, and Karn totally embraced the fretless bass, having developed into the organic and rubbery sound that he would use for the remainder of his career. From the opener, this is clear--"Quiet Life" is synth driven, with a dance beat and glistening guitars providing a highlight. Rob Dean's guitar solo, when it arrives, it largely ebow driven, weaving in and out of the synthesizers. And while admittedly, there are songs that show the pedigree of the last album (the excellent "Fall in Love With Me"), largely its this new synth pop direction that dominates (moody "In Vogue", a superb cover of the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties"), with an occasional nod towards Sylvian's minimalist instincts as a composer that are starting to manifest (moody ballad "Despair", closer "The Other Side of Life"). "
http://www.tinet.org/~fbroto/ a very nice spanish site with lot of pictures,discography etc.
http://www.nightporter.co.uk/ another very good site with complete bio, pictures etc.
next time will come:
Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum cds