Thursday, July 24, 2008

Song of the day

"Nightporter", by Japan. For reasons that I don't really understand, I have been on a real Japan kick the last couple of days. Not the early glam-punk years, which have never meant anything to me at all (although my first memory of Japan was seeing them on "Countdown", in all their, ahem, "splendour", doing "Don't Rain On My Parade"), but the two final, essential albums, "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" and "Tin Drum". Two albums may not be much to make a reputation on, but then we only had two albums from Joy Division, and that was both enough and, in all speculative likelihood, the ideal number. Anyway. These two are as important to me as any other record in my collection; listening to them today it is particularly striking how they come across as the definitive sound of the early 1980s. The perfectly clean but(presumably) still analog synths, the FXed drums, the fretless bass, the slightly effected piano and airy synth combination that can be found on "Nightporter".

I have always loved "Nightporter". Perhaps not so much that it will eventually appear in my all time top 50 songs (c.f. "Ghosts", which stands a good chance, but isn't there yet), but quite deeply nevertheless. Its seeming ease in handling complex emotions might well have lit the path that David Sylvian was later to tread, to frequently sublime effect, in his solo career.