Wednesday, July 27, 2005

music for chameleons

Japan - Swing
There is a scene in one of the Alan Partridge series where Alan mimes fretless bass in his static caravan to Gary Numan's 'Music for Chameleons'. I think the writers missed a trick here, it should have been Japan. Mick Karn's gelatinous bass playing was one of Japan's USP's along with David Sylvian's foggy crooning. Sure, they were derivative, stylised and pretentious but they were a surefire way of getting to talk to the artiest and usually prettiest girls in school.

In terms of heaviest turntable rotation my favourite album of all time must be 1980's 'Gentlemen take Polaroids'. For about 3 years it held off all other challenges. It's an odd one, 8 tracks of long synth and bass dominated songs with little in the way of the trad songwriting values that I hold dear but it sounds great and drips with atmosphere. The synth sounds are a million miles from the lo-fi bleeps of the OMD post. It's a multi-layered and sophisticated record and an acquired taste.

Japan - All Tomorrows Parties
I know this version of 'All Tomorrows Parties' will irritate some Velvets purists. Tough, I think it captures the sleazy, trash glam aspect of the early Velvet Underground better than most cover versions.

I'm off to play a bit of air bass....

Buy Gentlemen take Polaroids - Japan
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