Musical Monday: Japan

I’m still mining the list of artists I’ve seen more than once. I’m returning to the short-lived Japan, last featured in Song Lyric Sunday #15.

This time I’m looking at what the band did post-break up. All the members went on to work on other projects, with varying degrees of success. After his collaborations with Sakamoto, David Sylvian’s first solo album Brilliant Trees reached No. 4 in the UK Albums Chart in 1984, spawning the UK top 20 single Red Guitar.

Meanwhile, Mick Karn had become a sought-after session musician and worked with artists such as Gary Numan, Kate Bush, and Joan Armatrading. He also had a top 40 hit After a Fashion with Midge Ure in 1983, and collaborated with Peter Murphy of Bauhaus as the duo Dalis Car, releasing an album in 1984.

Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri worked together as the Dolphin Brothers and simply as Jansen & Barbieri and Rob Dean went on to work with Gary Numan and Sinead O’Connor.

In September 1989, Sylvian, Karn, Jansen and Barbieri reunited under the moniker Rain Tree Crow. They released an eponymously titled album in April 1991, which was well-received by music critics and reached the UK top 25. However, once again, the band dissolved following creative frictions between Sylvian and the other members.

In 1993 Jansen, Barbieri and Karn created Medium Productions as a means to release their own music with other collaborating artists, without big record label compromise. Fifteen CDs of largely instrumental music were produced over a 10 year period. Medium Productions folded in 2004 as the founders became more involved in other projects. The entire MP catalog has since been re-released on the Voiceprint Music label.

In 2003, Virgin Records re-issued remastered editions of Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Tin Drum and Oil on Canvas. BMG followed suit next year, and re-issued Adolescent Sex, Obscure Alternatives, Quiet Life and Assemblage. All of these re-releases came in the digipak format, collecting many bonus tracks.

The only member of the band who has continued to record is David Sylvian who’s collaborated with a number of different artists over the years in a variety of genres.




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