The Art of Parties – Methods of Dance – live

‘a new energy’

It seems that Masami Tsuchiya heard the music of Japan before the band discovered his. ‘I was very touched by Japan’s music from the very first album,’ he told Bamboo magazine, ‘and I told everyone about them – what great musicians they were. The word got around and Japan got to know about it’. Tsuchiya was a founder member of Ippu-Do, an outfit with an openness to European influences. Some sessions for their 1980 LP Real even took place at Hansa studios in Berlin, originating titles such as ‘German Road’, ‘Heidelburg Symphony’ and ‘Neu! (Changing the History)’ – tracks that boast a new wave sound with synthesisers, sequencers and vocoder vox accompanying driving guitar, bass and drums.

Following the release of the subsequent album, Radio Fantasy, Tsuchiya was ready for a solo project. This time he headed to London, specifically to Air Studios in the middle of town, where he was determined to work with the rhythm section of the English band that he so admired. ‘The request came through management,’ explained Steve Jansen, ‘probably via London based project co-ordinators’ (2022). Japan had been busy, spending three spells on the road in 1981 for the Polaroids, Art of Parties and Visions of China tours, culminating in Christmas shows at the Hammersmith Odeon. Nevertheless, the following month Jansen and Mick Karn were ensconced at Air bringing their signature sounds to Masami’s debut album as a solo artist – Rice Music.

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Ghosts – live

‘some sense of nostalgia’

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember why you made a particular decision. Especially one that you wish you could change afterwards… It was late 1982 and I was in the final year at school. Important exams were looming the following year which would determine whether I would achieve my ambition of going to university, and if so, which one I might attend. My fascination with Japan had developed in the preceding months as the singles ‘Ghosts’ and ‘Cantonese Boy’ had been lifted from Tin Drum, catching my attention and drawing me to the album. The plethora of Hansa singles had got me exploring the back catalogue, and I was guided through by an enthusiastic friend.

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