Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

JAPAN

Prog Related • United Kingdom


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Japan picture
Japan biography
JAPAN were formed in 1974 in Lewisham, southeast London, by school friends David Batt (David Sylvian, vocals) and Anthony Michaelides (Mick Karn, bass), and Batt's younger brother, Steve (Steve Jansen, drums). A year later, they were joined by David and Mick's old schoolmate Richard Barbieri on keyboards, and by guitarist Rob Dean, who had responded to an advertisement in the music magazine "Melody Maker"

After a few years spent rehearsing and playing live in Britain and Germany, the band were signed by German recording company Hansa-Ariola. Their debut album, "Adolescent Sex", was released in 1978, as was its follow up, "Obscure Alternatives". At that time, JAPAN'sound was still noticeably influenced by acts such as DAVID BOWIE and ROXY MUSIC, which caused them to be dismissed by the British music press as unfashionable at a time when punk and new wave acts held sway.

Their third album, "Quiet Life", released in 1979, heralded a change in the musical direction of the band, with Barbieri's synthetisers becoming much more prominent. This was the last album for Hansa-Ariola, as the band were then signed by Virgin. Their last two studio albums, "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" (1980) and "The Tin Drum" (1981) were released with the British label, and brought JAPAN some long-awaited success. In particular, "The Tin Drum" reached #12 in the UK album charts.

During that period, Japanese multi-instrumentalist Ryuichi Sakamoto became an unofficial member of the band; in the following years, he continued his collaboration with David Sylvian. In "The Tin Drum", the band's sound became increasingly more sophisticated, blending Western electronics with traditional Far Eastern sounds, and enhanced by Sylvian's haunting baritone voice. However, personal conflicts also escalated, leading first to Rob Dean's departure in 1980, and finally to the band's demise at the end of 1982, after a series of sold-out concerts at London Hammersmith Odeon, which resulted in the live album "Oil on Canvas" (1983). The band's last-ever performance took place in December 1982 in Nagoya, Japan. Ironically, "Oil on Canvas" became the band's best-selling album, charting at #5 in the UK.

After the split, the band members went on to work on various solo projects. The most successful of them has been singer David Sylvian, who has released numerous solo albums over the years. The original members got together again in 1990 under the new name of RAIN TREE CROW, and release...
read more

Japan official website

JAPAN MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

JAPAN forum topics / tours, shows & news


JAPAN forum topics Create a topic now
JAPAN tours, shows & news Post an entries now

JAPAN Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all JAPAN videos (3) | Search and add more videos to JAPAN

Buy JAPAN Music


Right Now on Ebay (logo)
Storyville Japan 12 Vinyl LP Box Sydney Bechet Earl Hines Lester Young Art Tatum USD $249.99 Buy It Now
HERMAN'S HERMITS - JAPAN ISSUE - CD -OUT OF PRINT USD $29.99 Buy It Now
SIMON AND GARFUNKEL - RARE JAPAN CD - BEST - JAPAN ONLY - w/OBI USD $24.99 Buy It Now
FILM SCORE JAMES BOND 007 YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE 7" PS Japan MANTOVANI ORCHESTRA USD $38.80 Buy It Now
KATSUMI KOBAYASHI/GUITAR TECHNIQUE OF RITCHIE BLACKMORE PART 2 LP JAPAN OBI USD $39.99 Buy It Now
ALVIN GARRETT-EXPOSE YOURSELF-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
KERO UNO-REFLECTION ETERNAL-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
MATT MONRO EP PS Japan promo MERCI CHERIE ,STRANGER IN THE NIGHT promo red vinyl USD $17.80 Buy It Now
THE VENTURES "EARLY CONTEMPORARY ALBUM" JAPAN EDITION CDBOX USD $22.55 [0 bids]
CLIFF RICHARD Japan 1983 White Label Promo 7"45 LUCILLE USD $15.99 Buy It Now
MOONSHOES-BOOGIELAND-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
DETROIT EXPERIMENT-S/T-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
GRAND FUNK - The Best of Grand Funk LP (RARE Japan-Only Release w/OBI) MINT- USD $49.99 Buy It Now
BECK, BOGERT & APPICE - Live LP (RARE Japan-Only Pressing on EPIC) MINT- USD $69.99 Buy It Now
DEEP PURPLE - Made in Japan LP (RARE German Import on PURPLE) MINT-- USD $54.99 Buy It Now
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band-The Beatles (SHM-CD, OOP, Mini-LP, Japan) USD $54.95 Buy It Now
CYCLONE VOW WOW (JAPAN) USD $8.95 [1 bids]
YES TORMATO JAPAN OBI (SHM) MINI LP CD WPCR-13523 2009 24 BIT K2HD REMASTER USD $20.50 [18 bids]
MEG ZOMBIES+Meg Kiss or Bite / SAVE Limited Edition Japan 2CD KICM-91451 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
SKYMARK-WAVES FROM THE NUCLEUS-JAPAN ONLY CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
Metal Gear Solid 20th Anniversary Music Collection Game Music CD JAPAN F/S J3042 USD $38.42 Buy It Now
GILELS / REINER - Brahms Concerto No. 2 & Tragic CD ORG RCA Red Seal JAPAN USD $14.99 [0 bids]
HARD ROCK CAFE Japan CD LIVE Steve Hackett John Paul Jones Paul Gilbert Nuno USD $69.99 Buy It Now
PAUL ANKA cd JUBILATION my way SHE'S A LADY yesterday my life MADE IN JAPAN USD $69.99 Buy It Now
Japan Vinyl Record Atlantic P6180A The Drifters Ruby Baby 14 songs w/insert USD $10.00 Buy It Now
CLIFF RICHARD Japan 1977 White Label Promo 7"45 DYNAMITE : THE YOUNG ONES USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Revolver by The Beatles (SHM-CD, 2015, OOP, Mini-LP, LTD, Universal Japan) USD $54.95 Buy It Now
Judy Collins The Best of Japan Promo White Label Vinyl LP with OBI 1967 Dylan USD $199.99 Buy It Now
THE VENTURES "BEST HIT SELECTION" JAPAN EDITION 3CDBOX USD $22.55 [0 bids]
BILL EVANS & SHELLY MANNE Empathy Monty Budwig JAPAN LP USD $24.97 Buy It Now
MORITZ VON OSWALD-SOUNDING LINES-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
THE RUNAWAYS-CHERIE & MARIE CURRIE Love At First Sight JAPAN 7" VINYL SFL-2256 USD $49.99 Buy It Now
JOAN JETT-THE RUNAWAYS I Love R&R JAPAN LP w/OBI+INSERT+P/S P-11220 Free S&H/P&P USD $49.99 Buy It Now
BON JOVI, ELTON JOHN,etc CATCH UP Oct-1997 JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CD 8DCP-9017 Free SH USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Promo! BISCAYA Summerlove JAPAN 7" RECORD w/White Label+P/S RPS-149 Free S USD $19.99 Buy It Now
WILL SMITH M II B Special Hits Sampler JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CD w/PS SDCI 80033 FreeS USD $29.99 Buy It Now
LOVERBOY Get Lucky JAPAN CASSETTE TAPE 25.6P-126 w/PS+Insert USD $24.99 Buy It Now
MICHAEL JACKSON Beat It /Get On The Floor JAPAN 7" VINYL P/S 07.5P-221 USD $19.99 Buy It Now
Sealed! GEORGE DUKE Save The Country JAPAN CD TOCJ-50265 Ltd 999 Forecast 24bit USD $39.99 Buy It Now
Promo! GIRLS Noraneko JAPAN LP RUNAWAYS Cherry Bomb&KISS cover! w/OBI S-7016 USD $89.99 Buy It Now
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN Soul Kiss JAPAN CD w/Sticker Obi+Insert P33R-20001 1 BONUS USD $29.99 Buy It Now
CYNDI LAUPER Come On Home /Hey Now(Girls Just..) JAPAN 3"CD ESDA-7160 UNSNAPPED USD $34.99 Buy It Now
KIM CARNES Mistaken Identity JAPAN CD CP21-6057 w/OBI '89 PASTMASTERS reissue USD $39.99 Buy It Now
RAMONES We Are Punk Generation-LIVE EP JAPAN 7" SINGLE SFL-2340 FREE S USD $59.99 Buy It Now
KING CRIMSON In The Court of JAPAN CD 32VD-1063 INSERT '87 issue BLACK TRIANGLE USD $44.99 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD Heaven's Open JAPAN CD VJCP-28015 w/OBI+BOOKLET Michael USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Promo! TED NUGENT Stormstroopin' JAPAN 7" RECORD w/Pic Sleeve ECPO-92 Free S USD $24.99 Buy It Now
Promo! MOLLY HATCHET Satisfied Man JAPAN 7" RECORD w/Pic Sleeve 07.5P-321 FreeSH USD $29.99 Buy It Now
PORTISHEAD Portishead JAPAN SHM-CD CD UICY-91265 w/OBI+PS OOP Audiophile FREE SH USD $39.99 Buy It Now
KING CRIMSON In The Court Of Crimson King JAPAN LP w/Obi+Insert+GF P-10115A USD $69.99 Buy It Now
Ex! DEPECHE MODE Violator JAPAN CD '97 issue w/fold-out INSERT TOCP-3292 NO OBI USD $34.99 Buy It Now
Promo! BLACK SABBATH Paranoid JAPAN 7" RECORD w/Pic Sleeve SP06-5 Free S USD $24.99 Buy It Now
ERASURE The Circus(remix) JAPAN PROMO 7" SINGLE ALI-771 c/w The Circus(decay) USD $24.99 Buy It Now
NASHVILLE TRAIN Abba Our Way JAPAN LP w/OBI+INSERT DSP-5104 Free S USD $59.99 Buy It Now
DURAN DURAN Violence Of Summer JAPAN 3"CD SINGLE TODP-2185 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE Thirty Seconds Over JAPAN CD w/OB+14p P/S BOOKLETI BVCM-7329 USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Sealed! ART FARMER Modern Art JAPAN CD TOCJ-50028 Ltd 999 Best&More 24b USD $39.99 Buy It Now
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN Greatest Hits Vol.2 JAPAN CASSETTE TAPE ZR28-815 Free S USD $39.99 Buy It Now
#PROMO Sealed! RAUL DE SOUZA Sweet Lucy JAPAN CD TOCJ-50256 Ltd Forecast w/OBI USD $49.99 Buy It Now
Sealed! BEE GEES Best of vol.2 JAPAN MAIL ORDER-ONLY CD w/WIDE OBI WQCP687 FreeS USD $34.99 Buy It Now
STEELY DAN A Decade of JAPAN for USA CD w/STICKER-OBI 32XP-149 /MCAD-5570 FreeSH USD $29.99 Buy It Now
#PROMO Sealed! EARL KLUGH &BOB JAMES Two of A Kind JAPAN CD TOCJ50261 Forecast USD $79.99 Buy It Now
Ex! SOFT MACHINE Soft Machine JAPAN SHM-CD CD UICY-90780 w/OBI+INSERT Limited USD $49.99 Buy It Now
ABBA Greatest Hits Vol.2 JAPAN CASSETTE DCP-4004 w/Pic Slip Case+Insert Free S USD $59.97 Buy It Now
Promo! SALVATORE ADAMO Chanson-Japanese version JAPAN 3" CD AMDE-5124 Unsnapped USD $29.99 Buy It Now
MIKE OLDFIELD Tubular Bells JAPAN 7" RECORD w/PS LL-2638-VR The Exorcist Free SH USD $24.99 Buy It Now
Promo! UB40 The Fathers of Reggae JAPAN CD w/OBI+INSERT VJCP-68431 FreeS USD $24.99 Buy It Now
JANET JACKSON,etc PONY CANYON CUTS Feb-90 JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CD DSP-68 MFQ Free SH USD $29.99 Buy It Now
ICHIOSHI-KUN #32 July-'92 ALFA Sampler JAPAN PROMO-ONLY 2 CD Chimo Bayo FREE S USD $29.99 Buy It Now
DIANA ROSS Why Do Fools Fall JAPAN CD CP35-3033 83 1st issue 11A1 BLACK TRIANGLE USD $34.99 Buy It Now
KEITH JARRETT Facing You JAPAN 24k GOLD CD w/OBI J25J-29023 Ex++/Ex++ USD $69.99 Buy It Now
IRON MAIDEN A Real Dead One JAPAN CD TOCP-47599 w/OBI+16-p P/S BOOKLET Free S USD $29.99 Buy It Now
PATRICIA KAAS Venus Des /L'AFFAIRE LOUIS TRIO JAPAN PROMO-ONLY 7" SINGLE DDI3017 USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Sealed! BEE GEES Best of vol.1 JAPAN MAIL ORDER-ONLY CD w/WIDE OBI WQCP686 FreeS USD $34.99 Buy It Now
EURYTHMICS-ANNIE LENNOX Angel JAPAN 5" CD w/Obi+P/S BOOKLET B15D-41090 Ex+/VG++ USD $39.99 Buy It Now
OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN Soul Kiss JAPAN CASSETTE w/Picture Sleeve X28R-2001 USD $59.99 Buy It Now
DONNA SUMMER I Will Go With You JAPAN 5" MAXI CD ESCA8041 w/OBI+6-p P/S BOOKLET USD $59.99 Buy It Now
PUNK SANBON SHOBU JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CD XDCS 93233 D Generation,TRIP 66, P.Brüster USD $29.99 Buy It Now
DEPECHE MODE Violator JAPAN CD w/Obi+Booklet ALFA ALCB-35 1A1 C-15 1CD edition USD $59.99 Buy It Now
DEPECHE MODE Exciter JAPAN CD w/PS+INSERT VJCP-68312 NO OBI Ex USD $29.99 Buy It Now
NM! ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM Composer of..JAPAN Mini-LP CD 24k GOLD w/OBI UCCU-9511 USD $49.99 Buy It Now
KIM WILDE If I Can't Have You /You Keep Me Hangin' JAPAN 3" CD MVDM-39 Unsnapped USD $29.99 Buy It Now
Ex! VELVET UNDERGROUND & NICO JAPAN SHM-CD CD UICY-90779 SLIP CASE+OBI+BOOKLET USD $49.99 Buy It Now
HOOTERS Satellite /Johnny B JAPAN 7" VINYL w/Insert&P/S 07SP1059 USD $19.99 Buy It Now
DEPECHE MODE COVER! ICHIOSHI-KUN ALFA 1993 Sampler JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CD Y12-69 USD $99.99 Buy It Now
DEAD OR ALIVE Turn Around & Count 2 Ten JAPAN 3" CD SINGLE 10.8P-3037 Free S&H USD $39.99 Buy It Now
HOOTERS 500 Miles /The House of Wolfgang JAPAN PROMO-ONLY 7" VINYL XDSP93123 USD $19.99 Buy It Now
RICKY MARTIN She Bangs JAPAN PROMO-ONLY 5" CD SINGLE w/Pic Sleeve QDCA 93351 USD $29.99 Buy It Now
KEITH SWEAT I'll Give All My Love JAPAN PROMO-ONLY CASSETTE TAPE PTS-2005 USD $24.99 Buy It Now
FALCO 3 JAPAN CD 86 issue w/PS+12-page BOOKLET Alfa 32XB-80 Amadeus 8:20 Salieri USD $49.99 Buy It Now
ROLLING STONES PAINT IT, BLACK / LET'S SPED 45 7" SO7P1035 JAPAN ORIGINAL USD $49.99 Buy It Now
THE VENTURES "FOREVER" JAPAN EDITION CDBOX USD $15.03 [0 bids]
V.A.-THE BLUES CAN JUMP - THE VERY BEST OF JIVIN' HARMONIES-JAPAN CD F04 USD $26.99 Buy It Now
Sim Crows Japan CD+DVD UPCH-27006 Brand New USD $27.25 Buy It Now
D B COOPER/BUY AMERICAN LP 1980 JAPAN PROMO WHITE SAMPLE USD $29.99 Buy It Now
KING SUNNY ADE / SYNCHRO SYSTEM / AFRO / NIGERIA / POLYSTAR JAPAN USD $29.90 Buy It Now
DIE HARD 2 die harder JAPAN soundtrack CD Bruce Willis MICHAEL KAMEN score OST USD $59.99 Buy It Now
THE CRUSADERS THE 2nd CRUSADE JAPAN 1ST PRESS 3800YEN VERSION 38XD-637 RARE!!!!! USD $150.00 Buy It Now
Music from Final Fantasy X-2 X2 CD Obi,Alion International Records Japan Import USD $19.50 Buy It Now
WISHBONE ASH Japan 1975 Version MCA-6066 NM LP ARGUS USD $29.99 Buy It Now

More places to buy JAPAN music online Buy JAPAN & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
  • AmazonMP3: Search for JAPAN DRM-Free MP3 Downloads @ AmazonMP3 (USA Only) | AmazonMP3 (UK Only)
JAPAN has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

JAPAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

JAPAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.10 | 24 ratings
Adolescent Sex
1978
2.31 | 24 ratings
Obscure Alternatives
1978
3.16 | 43 ratings
Quiet Life
1979
3.08 | 69 ratings
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
1980
3.13 | 65 ratings
Tin Drum
1981

JAPAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.37 | 33 ratings
Oil on Canvas
1983

JAPAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.35 | 7 ratings
The Very Best Of Japan
2006

JAPAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.46 | 7 ratings
Assemblage
1981
4.08 | 13 ratings
Exorcising Ghosts
1984
1.73 | 6 ratings
In Vogue
1996
2.26 | 4 ratings
The Very Best of Japan
2006

JAPAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

JAPAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by Cylli Kat

4 stars Granted, this is prog RELATED. Not straightforward prog. But this is a well crafted album brimming with the proggy basslines of the late Mick Karn, the smooth vocals of David Sylvian (n' Batt), the solid drumming of David's brother Steve Janse, as well as the synth craftings of future Porcupine Tree member Richard Barbieri. I have extremely fond memories associated with this album and its follow-up Tin Drum. So I have a mixed approach to this rating: I love the album and give it 5 stars. BUT it is not exactly prog, so for the sake of those who want a "prog" rating would have to give it 3 stars. Conclusion, 4 stars. Your mileage may vary...
 Quiet Life by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.16 | 43 ratings

BUY
Quiet Life
Japan Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Japan's more electronic "Roxy Music meets Ultravox" (Ultrarox?) sound starts to really take root on Quiet Life. Velvet Underground covers are always a gamble, particularly considering how exceptional the original material in question is, but they're able to work in a really nice take on All Tomorrow's Parties here which is one of those rare cases where a cover version is able to capture the stately melancholy of the original, and it's particularly impressive how it perfectly fits the ethereal atmosphere of the rest of the album. Richard Barbieri's synthesiser work coupled with David Sylvian's best Bryan Ferry posing creates some archetypal New Romantic material.
 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Japan greeted the arrival of the 1980s with Gentlemen Take Polariods, an album balanced finely between gorgeously crafted New Romantic pop and more esoteric art rock building on the quieter moments of Bowie's Heroes and Low. Some tracks contain echoes of each other - Swing and Taking Islands In Africa borrow lyrics from each other but give them a very different feel with the former being one of the poppier numbers on the album and the latter being a curious closing number. More immediately accessible than the subsequent Tin Drum, this may well be the best place to jump into the world of Japan.
 Oil on Canvas  by JAPAN album cover Live, 1983
3.37 | 33 ratings

BUY
Oil on Canvas
Japan Prog Related

Review by UMUR
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars "Oil on Canvas" is a live album release by UK art pop act Japan. The album was released through Virgin Records in June 1983. The original version was released as a double vinyl version. Itīs the highest charting album by the band although it was released several months after the band split-up. "Oil on Canvas" was recorded during Japanīs final UK performances in November 1982 at the six-night sold out stint of concerts at the Hammersmith Odeon. "Oil on Canvas" is not exclusively a live album though as the band have chosen to include some new instrumental studio recordings on the album too.

Itīs not like itīs something you notice though as the live tracks are rather sterile and more or less sound like they were recorded in a studio too. Audience noise is very sparse and low in the mix, which doesnīt exactly enhance the feeling that youīre listening to a live recording. When that is said the live versions of the tracks are different from the original studio versions and "Oil on Canvas" is still a good quality release even though a more "live" sound, to my ears, would have boosted the listening experience. Most tracks are from "Tin Drum (1981)", which is natural enough as it was the latest studio album at the time and they toured in support of that album, when recording "Oil on Canvas", but there are tracks from other albums too.

Not surprisingly the musicianship is on a high level. David Sylvian delivers sensitive and melancholic vocals and the keyboards by Richard Barbieri are adventurous and well played. Itīs the rythm section of bassist Mick Karn and drummer Steve Jansen that take the prize though. Especially Mick Karn plays some incredible bass lines. This might be some sort of artsy pop music upon initial listens, but dig a little deeper and youīll learn how sophisticated it actually is underneath. Session guitarist/keyboardist Masami Tsuchiya helps the soundscape to be more full and layered.

Overall "Oil on Canvas" is an enjoyable release by Japan. In terms of being a vibrant live album it fails a bit, but somehow itīs still an interesting and engaging listen. The detailed and clear sound production might have something to do with it, but the high level musicianship and of course the generally high quality of the compositions are great assets too. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is warranted.

 Tin Drum  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.13 | 65 ratings

BUY
Tin Drum
Japan Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Japan's Tin Drum has a fragile, brittle sound to it which demands a few listens before it sinks in. Even when David Sylvian gets into a groove and things seem on the verge of starting to rock, as on Cantonese Boy, the sparse aesthetic keeps things buttoned down and restrained. An acquired taste, but I can't deny that it's an interesting one. At points it teeters on the verge of being culturally appropriative, but the band always find a way to put their own eccentric twist on things. With a China obsession reminiscent of Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy), this is one of the weirder and less approachable releases of the synthpop era and I can't say I blame people who find it isn't to their taste.
 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Jeez!, this one really has set the cat amongst the pigeons in the Archives. I can fully understand the aloofness most proggers take with regards to the merit of this 'pop' album. Personally, it's one of my all time favourite albums and if you don't like that, then what the hell is it doing here in the first place? Am I supposed to give this a low rating because I Iove it to bits but it appears on the 'Prog Archives'?

Superb fretless bass by the now deceased Mick Karn, enigmatic wobbly vocals by Sylvian, waves of synths by Barbieri , piano by Ryuchi Sakamoto and good solid offbeat drumming by Steve Jansen make this one of the best 80's albums full stop.

It's smooth in the way 'Roxy Music' were in the same era. Japan, however had something far more inventive about them that set them apart from all contemporaries. Über cool, mature for their age and downright sauve without even trying. This is the album that Duran Duran clearly worshipped before they hit the big time. You've only got to look at Nick Rhodes stupid painted face.

Mick Karn's bass is the driving force behind the entire album. Particularly on the first two tacks where it pumps and bleeps like Jaco Pastorius from 'Weather Report'.

Truthfuly I can't write a review of this album without mentioning Bowie's "Low' from '76 which clearly influenced a lot here from side two of that album.

Awash with wonderful electronics, echoey instruments and clear track separation between sounds, this is a superbly clear recording which flows beautifully into my favourite tune of all time... 'Nightporter'. Stunningly beautiful and melancholic. Ryuichi Sakamoto of YMO and his piano makes this utterly gorgeous. Quite simply the best song I've ever heard. These are not small words - In '99 I held a party on New Years Eve where everyone had to bring along their favourite song of all time where it was played after a speech about it's merits. This still stands true today.

'Gentlemen Take Polaroids' is spacious and wide in sound, where everyone gets to play their instruments without any rush and is full of waves of cold keyboards.

The masterful 'Taking Islands in Africa' is a gem in it's own right with Barbierie's proto sequencer coming to the fore. There was only so much New Romanticism could offer, but Japan pushed the boat out so much further than any other band of their time. It's hard to believe that anyone could progress and change so rapidly within the space of 3 years, considering their '78 New York Dolls efforts.

As if all this wasn't enough, if you buy the cd you get the brilliant 'Experience of Swimming' as a bonus. A Richard Barbieri masterpiece, a keyboard driven slab of doom using beautiful sounds that were virtually unheard in those days of long past.

One of my 5 albums of all time.

 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by EricBliss

5 stars These reviews on here are ridiculous.

I would hardly consider Gentlemen Take Polaroids a prog album, but that doesn't mean it's not a brilliant POP album.

I purchased the album on a whim this year and was beyond surprised by what I heard. I expected some catchy Duran Duran-style pop, expected to maybe like half of it. Not the case.

This is some seriously smooth and classy 80's music, I hate even calling it "pop" because it's not terribly accessable. It did take a few listens before it clicked with me.

The synthesizer work is atmospheric, icy and sounds like it came from another planet, Mr. Barbeiri may not be the most technical player but the atmosphere he creates is otherworldly and intriguing. Steve Jansen is a solid, almost mechanical drummer, and Mick Karn's fretless bass work is easily the most appealing element in this band, with basslines that purr and growl with a presence that really gives things an interesting flavor. Though he never resorts to flash his parts are always unique. Then there's David Sylvians sexy, understated baritone which strongly remind one of Bowie and Bryan Ferry, the epitome of cool with a look to match, singing lyrics that are vague enough that they could be about anything you wanted them to. I've heard few male singers in my life that just melt me but this guy manages to do it, and typcially I prefer much higher ranges.

Things get off to a great start with the title track, a great slab of atmospheric 80's pop with a chorus that won't leave your head anytime soon. There's no way to deny the greatness of the amazing fretless bass work in "Swing." I don't see how any prog fan can't get into the head-spinning timings of "Methods of Dance" which ironically ends up being one of the least danceable items on this record. This track has some of the most inventive use of 4/4 time I've ever heard, and a beautiful chorus iced off with a beautifully haunting female vocal line.

The record also has a ridiculously awesome cover of the old soul tune "Ain't That Pecular" that is so far-removed from the original that I didn't even recognize it until I had heard it many times. Peculiar indeed, a seasickeningly out of tune koto plays a vaguely eastern sounding melody at random times, and even features a meandering recorder part, in unison harmony with itself of course. Take that, Gentle Giant. This one's a riot.

Then there's what may be the runaway track on the album which is the drumless waltz "Nightporter," a dark and devastatingly beautiful track. The simple, yet effective minor-key piano riff gets things off to a great start, and gradually Sylvians vocals, muted synth strings, and a lovely oboe line make appearances, and through its 7 minutes builds itself slowly up and down and gradually reaches a cathartic climax, with Syvian wordlessly singing the melody of the chorus at the end. The album ends on a high note with the uplifting "Taking Islands In Africa."

I've played the album at least 50 times in the last couple months and can wholeheartedly say it's flawless start to finish and I don't say that about many albums at all. I simply cannot tire of listening to it. I dont see how any prog fans who appreciate pop music couldn't enjoy it, after all Japan meant business as evidenced by their stylish appearance and deadly serious tone to the record. Let's not forget Mick Karn's awesome fretless bass playing. Keep an open mind and give it a spin or several. :-D

 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by madcaplaughsagain

3 stars Mellotron Storm, are you serious? You know coming to think of it, I can't be arsed to make a sensible well thought out comment to your moronic drivel. You have to understand that personal taste should not enter in to an objective review, understand? Didn't think so. This album is of its time, and is actually very good. There you are, how more comprehensive a review do you want? It gets 3 stars rather than 4 or 5, because it is not prog rock! Um well it isn't see. No more than Kanye West is prog rock, but he is very very good, just not prog rock.
 Gentlemen Take Polaroids  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1980
3.08 | 69 ratings

BUY
Gentlemen Take Polaroids
Japan Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I found "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" to be a very interesting and intriguing listen. While you can hear that this album must have influenced the New Wave style that was about to hit, this isn't that melodic or catchy.There's nothing on here that I could see as even remotely being considered a hit single.Yet that 80's vibe is here with those synths and guitar sounds especially, but also the electronic sounding beat. I've never been a huge fan of Sylvian's vocals but he keeps it fairly laid back and reserved which for me is a good thing.The bass and sax from Mick Karn is impressive to say the least. And of course Barbieri on synths and Jansen on guitar are always top notch. Interesting too to see the songs average in at almost 6 minutes. So yes this is intriguing with that flavour of new Wave and Pop yet stretching it out in that Brian Eno style. An interesting mix.There's no doubt that this was an influencial album, and as others have mentioned TALK TALK comes to mind first.

"Gentelmen Take Polaroids" is one of my favourites. Sure everything hints at the eighties style of music that was about to open the door (this was released in 1980) but I like it ! "Swing" kicks in at 30 seconds and vocals arrive a minute in. Sax in this one too. Nice. I like the synths after 4 1/2 minutes. "Burning Bridges" sounds like Electronic-Prog and the synths get loud after 1 1/2 minutes. Sax follows and we don't get vocals until after 4 1/2 minutes. "My New Career" has a solid beat with synths as the vocals join in. Sax before 1 1/2 minutes when the vocals stop briefly. "Methods Of Dance" has a beat as the sax plays over top then the tempo picks up and the vocals join in. Excellent sound after 1 1/2 minutes. I like the instrumental section after 4 minutes as well.This is one of the best tracks on here.

"Ain't That Peculiar" is actually a Marvin Gaye cover. Lots of intricate sounds with vocals.The beat is prominant and the synths slowly pulse. "Nightporter" has this laid back piano as the vocals join in. It does get fuller and I like the vocal melodies after 6 minutes. "Taking Islands In Africa" opens with a beat as synths then vocals join in. Love the track "The Experience Of Swimming" a definite top three although I understand that this and "The Width Of A Room" are bonus tracks. Both are instrumentals and they both are fantastic !

3.5 stars but i'm bumping it up. I can appreciate all the 1 and 2 star ratings.This is Prog- Related and as such a target for those who are into Progressive music only. But like Tom Ozric, UMUR and Bonnek I think this was fairly unique in it's day and influential, and have rated it accordingly.

 Tin Drum  by JAPAN album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.13 | 65 ratings

BUY
Tin Drum
Japan Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The critics seemed to love this album, I guess because it was unique at the time. I read an interview with Richard Barbieri recently where he said a lot of musicians over the years have told him how much they liked "Tin Drum", including his fellow PORCUPINE TREE band mates Steven Wilson and Gavin Harrison. I took a chance on this because I thought it would be New Wave which was popular when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I liked a lot of what came out of that. It was fun. As Zowie Ziggy notes this is not New Wave.This is like the opposite of it. All four guys in the band should be well known to prog fans as their names are often seen over the years in connection with prog bands. In fact Barbieri,Karn and Jansen all worked with NO-MAN while Sylvian has worked with Fripp and Czukay (CAN) amongst others.

"The Art Of Parties" like most of the songs has all these intricate sounds that come and go as the vocals join in.The guitar is making some noise 1 1/2 minutes in. "Talking Drum" is again filled with intricate sounds and this has an Eastern flavour as well. "Ghosts" was actually released as a single. I guess when the synths comes in it sounds good but it's hard to believe how successful this song was. "Canton" is an instrumental. It builds with a heavy beat and again an Eastern vibe is present. "Still Life In Mobile Homes" is kind of catchy with vocals and lots of intricate sounds. I like the synths but they're brief. "Sons Of Pioneers" has some fairly deep sounds that pulse and beat.Vocals just before 2 minutes.This is all about the prercussion. "Cantonese Boy" has a beat with synths as vocals join in.

A difficult listen to say the least. I just don't like it to be honest.

Thanks to Raff for the artist addition.

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music revuew and archives