It was a gloomy afternoon spent playing Dungeons and Dragons somewhere in Birmingham. Steve put on a record which initially I barely noticed but then began to focus on. It was probably the best thing I had heard in years and it was Gentlemen wear Polaroids by Japan. I promptly went out and bought it and spent hours playing it over and over again singing along with David Sylvian. It was unique. I bought Quiet Life and the earlier albums too in the coming weeks. A few years later, in Glasgow, I went to see them at the Glasgow Apollo. On my own. No one else seemed to like them but I had learned my lesson back in 1977 when I decided not to go see Bolan play because no one would go with me…… I never got another chance. So, I went and I marveled at just how bloody amazing Japan were. It wasn’t just Sylvian’s voice, but Karn’s amazing fretless bass, the drumming and the synths….. sheer brilliance. Years later, I bought Tin Drum – I didn’t like it as much as Polaroids but I did wear out the tape!
Japan split up just as they started to have success. Since then, I have followed David Sylvian who is an under rated song writer and musician in my opinion. He is reclusive, appears to care not about fame and fortune making avant garde music that gets more and more minimal as the years go by. Yet, he has made some indisputable classics like Orpheus, Forbidden Colours, Red Guitar, and so many more. I go through David Sylvian phases where I listen to nothing else but him. I am in one right now. If you have never heard any of his solo material some of it is out there and takes a listen or two but just take a listen to Orpheus….
This is music with depth and lyrics to make you think – each a masterpiece….
One of my favorites is the song Do you know me now?. So much so, I may even make a version of it if I can actually do it justice…..