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.

Sometime in the weeks before Japan’s series of six concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, my friend had some important news for me. He had a contact who had bought tickets for a number of the London shows, but had now decided not to attend them all. There was a spare ticket and I could buy it! Continue reading “Ghosts – live”

The Day the Earth Stole Heaven

a ‘kind of playful love song’

The first fruits of David Sylvian’s collaboration with Burnt Friedman were heard on a 2005 three track vinyl ep entitled Out in The Sticks, in a line-up that also headlined ex-CAN drummer and past collaborator, Jaki Liebezeit. Sylvian appeared on only one of the cuts, contributing vocals to the original version of ‘The Librarian’ (see here for a discussion with Burnt themed around that track). Continue reading “The Day the Earth Stole Heaven”

World Citizen – Chain Music

‘Duality is an illusion’

The terrorist attack that took place on 9/11 in 2001 shook the world to its core. I’m certain we all remember where we were when we heard the news and saw the pictures from New York on TV. For Ryuichi Sakamoto the events were literally “close to home”. Just days after that devastating event he wrote a column in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun entitled ‘My Viewpoint’, which began: Continue reading “World Citizen – Chain Music”

New Moon at Red Deer Wallow

‘One of the strangest tracks’

Following their excursion into commercial pop territory with The Dolphin Brothers, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri’s next joint project was set to take a very different direction. ‘We try to alternate our recordings in terms of types of album,’ explained Jansen. ‘Our first album [Worlds in a Small Room] was instrumental, the next vocal; so this should have been instrumental. Also, the record company weren’t budgeting enough for a vocal album, which requires studio time. If they had said, “do another vocal album, here’s the budget,” we’d have done it. But we were quite happy not to.’ Continue reading “New Moon at Red Deer Wallow”

In Vogue

Realising possibilities

Tin Drum was my introduction to the music of Japan, and from there I explored the previous releases. These were my final years at school and it was an exciting time with a world of music opening up to me that I just hadn’t been aware of before. A friend encouraged me to listen, passing me C90 cassette tapes of his favourite music which I would lose myself in, then saving my Saturday job money so I could visit the local record shop to buy the vinyl. The skull-and-cross-bones symbols may have said that home taping was killing music, but it also helped to foster a life-long appreciation of some incredible recordings – many of which I now own in multiple copies: vinyl, cd, re-releases, remasters… Continue reading “In Vogue”