Reviews & Recommendations
Doucement, ne les derangez pas
Il ya des gens qui vive comme ca
Les artistes de demain
En desespoir agreable

-- David Sylvian, Japan
David Sylvian (vocals), Mick Karn (bass),
Steve Jansen (drums), Richard Barbieri (keyboards) &
Rob Dean (Guitars)
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"Too depressed to be punks, too happy to be goths, and just too talented to be new wavers. Ah, where to fit in Japan. Sylvian's talent for ambience is mainly what gets them included. Album-wise, you can jump in anywhere pretty much, they start perky and get more sedate as time goes on."

 Japan Discography - Album / CD Reviews

*** 1977: Adolescent Sexaudio

"Substantially weaker than their subsequent releases, the first two albums of Japan introduced a group of neo-punks, clearly influenced by glam-rock icons of their time like David Bowie and Roxy Music. But with the distintive funky bass touch of Mick Karn and Sylvian's unique colorful voice, Japan were more than just another neo-romantic line-up hiding behind a mask of make-up. They were different, they were stylish!"
-- Said Sukkarieh, 9/99

*** 1978: Obscure Alternatives audio
""Much darker than their debut album and less upbeat, with the disco funk element of Adolescent Sex being replaced by arty post-Punk gloominess and on occasion, a quirky, almost reggae-ish vibe. Possibly even less famous and acclaimed than their first album, I'm not sure whether its better or worse but it is quite different sounding, and a small but noticeable step towards the thought provoking style of melancholy pop that would soon come and give Japan the commercial recognition they deserved all along. "
-- Misfit138,, 10/03

**** 1979: Quiet Lifeaudio
"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."

***¾ 1980: Gentlemen Take Polaroids audio
"Artful and Well crafted synthpop. After a dreadful early career as a glam rockband, Japan metamorphasized into a very sophisticated synthpop band. Obvious influences are Bowie and Roxy Music, but what saves this album from being derivative is a combination of beautiful synth arrangements, innovative bass (Mick Karn) and percussion, and David Sylvian's charismatic vocals. Standouts on this album are Nightporter and Swing. A British critic wrote that this was the most evocative deep soul ever made by white boys. Judge for yourself."
-- via, 5/99

***½ 1981: Tin Drum audio
"Japan's low-key, sensual approach to music is a mixture of instrument-produced synthetics and voice as pure sound. It is music created with light and deft brush strokes as a painter might create a landscape portrait. (...) Vocalist David Sylvian still sounds remarkably like Bryan Ferry, but he puts his voice to good use in a wide variety of ways that complement this unusually fine-textured sound. It lingers over the music like a delicate branch in the wind never really "singing," but using his voice as another fragile instrument in the composite picture that makes up the music of Japan. The group's icily distant approach is nicely supplemented by the Chinese motif of Tin Drum. The colorful fretless bass sound of Mick Karn is subtly inter-woven with the electronic keyboards of Richard Barbieri (and Sylvian as well) to create a mood unlike anything else in contemporary music. Tracks like Ghostsand Visions Of China are experimental combinations of sound, voice and percussion that work hard for a particular atmosphere and successfully achieve it. This is what Japan is about. "
-- College Media Inc, via CDnow

***½ 1981: Assemblage audio
A collection of Japan songs taken form their first three albums. Can't say that it's the Best of Japan.

***¾ 1983: Oil on Canvas audio

A live album (with several studio recorded tracks) including a selection of songs taken mainly from 'Gentlemen take Polaroid' and 'Tin Drum'. The album features three previously unreleased instrumentals, Sylvian's piano opening Oil on Canvas, Barbieri's Temple of Dawn , and the sophisticated Voices Raised in Welcome...

***½ 1996: The Singles

Different mixes of songs taken from the first three Japan albums. Eight different versions of Life in Tokyo! If you're a Japan might be worth it.

**** 1994: Exorcising Ghosts: Best of Japan

Track Listing: 1. Methods Of Dance 2. Gentlemen Take Polaroids 3. Quiet Life 4. Night Porter 5. My New Career 6. The Other Side Of Life 7. Visions Of China 8. Ghosts 9. Life Without Buildings 10. Talking Dream 11. The Art Of Parties
The definitive Japan collection put together for those who want to catch up on this unique art-pop band.

Recommended Links:

A Japan Site
Japan: Nightporter
Similar/Related Artists:

Rain Tree Crow | David Sylvian | Mick Karn | Dalis Car | Roxy Music | David Bowie | Peter Murphy | Ultravox | Bryan Ferry | Talk Talk | Classix Nouveaux | Gary Numan

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