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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Le Pollen – Demain

‘life is the art of encounters’

When Sadistic Mika Band broke up, Yukihiro Takahashi had a very clear vision of the musical direction he wanted to take as he launched a solo career that would span the coming decades. ‘I wanted to do something completely new,’ he confided in a radio interview in 2020 on the occasion of the re-release of his debut album Saravah! ‘I wanted to combine elements from new and old music from abroad as well as from Japan and create something unique.’

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Zero Landmine

‘a real hope’

‘Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell became famous in the late 1960s as commanding officer of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders,’ explains Chris Moon, recalling his job interview with the colonel early in 1993, as he searched for the right assignment to follow his own service in the military. ‘He set up a mine clearance charity after visiting Afghanistan, where he saw farmers unable to work their land, refugees who couldn’t go home and a Red Cross hospital full of amputees.’

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