Posts Tagged ‘Mick Karn’

Late ’70s English New Wave was added to with the arrival of Japan. This band featured David Sylvian, who changed the band to Rain Tree Crow before its demise back in 1991. With their third studio album ‘Quiet Life’, David Sylvian and Japan completed their transition from glammy punk naifs to sleek art-house pop stars. Containing a stylish take on the Velvets’ ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’. Before they left for other fields, Japan issued five classic studio sets and one as Rain Tree Crow (for six). A handful of successful singles furthers the legacy of Japan.

On January 22nd of 2021, What was the third album from Japan, “Quiet Life”, originally issued in 1979, will be remembered with a 3CD/1LP Boxed set. The music will be half-speed remastered. The first CD contains the original album remastered as does the heavy-grade vinyl LP. CDs 2/3 contain a collection of alternative mixes, rarities, the remastered “Live In Japan” 4-track EP, and the rare “Live At Budokan” 16-performance track se from a March 1980 show. (Live in Japan was the cherry-pick of that live performance.) There will be a single CD issue of Quiet Life along with a 12-page booklet, and a single LP (heavyweight vinyl/gatefold jacket) with a four-page insert. DD will also be issued. All will feature photos, new liner notes, and more.

 It’s also a solid proto-New Romantic synthesizer record, enhanced by Mick Karn’s superb fretless bass work and David Sylvian’s smooth, sneering vocals spread over pop hits like the title track and “Fall in Love with Me.”

Japan’s classic album ‘Quiet Life’ is the subject of a major new Deluxe reissue coming out on 5th March. Available to Order Here:’s classic album Quiet Life metaphorically and literally ended the 70s and kick-started the 80s due to being released in the run-up to Christmas the album was released in certain countries in 1979 and others in 1980. Quiet Life was the third, final and most successful release for the band on the Hansa Records label. The album and its attendant singles; Quiet Life & All Tomorrow’s Parties as well as other non-album singles included on the new deluxe version; Life In Tokyo, European Son & I Second That Emotion acted as a forerunner for the alternative, new wave & new romantic sound of the early 80s. Quiet Life is now the subject of a major new reissue featuring a brand new half-speed remaster of the original album, alternate mixes, b-sides, singles, rarities and live material including an audience recording of the sought after ‘lost’ Live at Budokan show from March 1980 previously only available as the 4 track EP ‘Live in Japan’. The release features newly restored original album artwork, exclusive new liner notes with a foreword by original producer, John Punter, rare and unseen photography and memorabilia.


Hanging Around Book’s latest release (HA023) “The Ghosts Of Our Lives: Japan & Friends 1981-82” will be released on Monday, April 15th and copies are available to pre-order now. All pre-orders will be sent out on the day of release.

The 36-page photozine features rare images of Japan taken by Justin Thomas and capture the band during the pinnacle of great creative activity that came following the transitional success of their third album ‘Quiet Life’ (December 1979) through ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ (October 1980) and on to the seminal ‘Tin Drum’ album of 1981.

The first group of photographs (pages 4 to 13) were taken in March 1981 at Nomis Studios, a purpose-built rehearsal studio complex in London owned by the band’s manager Simon Napier-Bell. The Japanese magazine ‘Music Life’ had flown thirty young competition winners over to the UK to meet their idols at work. The whole band were present to meet and greet their new-found friends, posing for photographs before David Sylvian and Richard Barbieri were whisked away to do an interview on the other side of town. Meanwhile, Mick Karn and Steve Jansen were happy to stay on for a Q&A session with their guests.

Six weeks after meeting the band for the first time, Justin was front and centre to capture them live at London’s Hammersmith Odeon during ‘The Art Of Parties’ tour on May 16th, 1981 (pages 14 to  21).

Throughout this white-hot period of creativity, the band members were involved in many collaborations including a one-off single with Giorgio Moroder who co-wrote and produced ‘Life in Tokyo’ and then later working with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Ryuichi Sakamoto who contributed as co-writer to ‘Taking Islands in Africa’ on the ‘Gentlemen Take Polaroids’ album. That friendship with Sakamoto led to the final series of shots in this book where Mick Karn, Steve Jansen, Ryuichi Sakamoto and his wife Akiko Yano were photographed at Air Studios together in February 1982 during the recording of Akiko’s album ‘Ai Ga Nakucha Ne.’


“The Ghosts Of Our Lives: Japan & Friends” (HA023)
Photography by Justin Thomas

© 2019 Justin Thomas & Hanging Around Books
A limited edition of 250 copies.
A5 paperback photozine. 36 pages.
Digitally printed on recycled paper.

This book is dedicated to the memory of Mick Karn who passed away on the 4th January 2011.