Jun 2, 2013

Sundaze 1322

Hello, an 2.7 km wide asteroid sailed past the Earth at 9.59 pm GMT last night at a distance of just 5.8 million km, it's so big it even has its own moon. Hmm not that close you might think , however considering earth orbits at a speed of 108.000 km/h that distance is crossed in 53 hours, it really was a close call. However it had been discovered 15 years ago so it wasn't a surprise by the astronomers, looks like that doomsday is still awaiting us....

Today more by the two men from the background, generally unassuming but really present so many times here joined by a couple of Japanese friends ..... N'Joy

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Steve Jansen (born Stephen Batt, 1 December 1959, in Beckenham, Kent, England) is an English drummer, percussionist, singer and composer. He was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London, where he failed academically, leaving at 16.
He is best known as a founding member of the group Japan, along with his brother David Sylvian (vocals, guitars and keyboards), Mick Karn (bass guitar), Richard Barbieri (keyboards), and Rob Dean (guitar).

After Japan broke up in 1982, Jansen recorded with bandmate Richard Barbieri under the name The Dolphin Brothers, with Jansen handling lead vocals as well as drums and percussion. In 1991, Jansen, Barbieri, and Karn formed Medium Productions as a venue for releasing their own music, as well as releases by other artists.

Jansen has worked extensively as a session musician and in collaboration with a wide range of international artists, such as Yukihiro Takahashi and Italian singer-songwriter Alice. His most recent project is Nine Horses with David Sylvian and Burnt Friedman. Jansen played drums and percussion on tour with Sylvian through the latter half of 2007. On his first solo album, entitled Slope, Jansen "approached composition attempting to avoid chord and song structures and the usual familiar building blocks. Instead I wanted to piece together unrelated sounds, music samples, rhythms and 'events' in an attempt to deviate from my own trappings as a musician.

Richard Barbieri (born 30 November 1957, in London, England)  was educated at Catford Boys' School, Catford, South East London. Originally coming to prominence in the late-1970s and early-1980s as a member of new wave pioneers Japan (and their brief 1989–1990 reincarnation as Rain Tree Crow), he is now best known as the keyboard player in the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, of which he has been a member since 1993. Despite being known for work in bands with prominent musicianship, Barbieri's key skill lies not in virtuoso instrumental performance, but in developing and processing synthetic electronic sound. This is either generated entirely by keyboard input or by processing a sound source from a musical collaborator.

During his time with Japan, Barbieri worked (with the assistance of lead singer/occasional keyboard player David Sylvian) on programming the band's analogue (and early digital) synthesizers to create original sounds and textures. On record, these were played by whichever member of Japan could interpret the performance best (generally drummer Steve Jansen, as "he had the best timing.") Barbieri would, however, perform the bulk of the keyboard playing live. His keyboard-playing role in Porcupine Tree is similarly split with frontman/producer Steven Wilson, with Barbieri processing the sound of other musicians in the band as well as playing more orthodox keyboard parts.

Despite his emphasis on sonic experimentation, Barbieri is also an accomplished keyboard player who has become more overtly traditional in his playing during his years with Porcupine Tree (and who currently plays electric and acoustic pianos and Mellotrons in addition to his analogue-styled synthesizer work).

After the break-up of Japan, Barbieri continued his association with David Sylvian, playing on the latter's early solo albums (and on the 1986 In Praise Of Shamans tour). During this time he worked alongside such other innovators as Holger Czukay, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Robert Fripp. In 1987 he started a long musical association with another Japan colleague, Steve Jansen. This has produced six collaborative albums to date, initially under the name The Dolphin Brothers (Catch the Fall, 1987) and later as Jansen & Barbieri (including Stories Without Borders, 1993,Worlds in a Small Room, 1996, and Stone to Flesh, 1997).

The Rain Tree Crow collaboration was short-lived due to David Sylvian's assumption of control over the project (which he claims was necessary for financing but which the other members saw as controlling arrogance). The group parted company shortly after recording the album, for which there was no supporting tour. However, the project was key to the reuniting of Jansen, Barbieri and Karn as a creative unit (sometimes referred to as "JBK").

In 1993 Barbieri formed the Medium Productions label in 1993 with Jansen and Karn. Their objective was to enable themselves to create music and collaborate with fellow musicians on projects without record company interference and restriction. They kicked off the label with the Jansen/Barbieri/Karn album Beginning to Melt (a collection of varied pieces including some trio work and other recordings featuring various permutations of the basic trio with other collaborators including David Torn and Robbie Aceto). Thirteen diverse albums were released during a ten-year period; Jansen and Barbieri's collaboration with DJ Takemura on the album Changing Hands being one of the highlights. During this period Barbieri also made two other collaborative albums, one with his wife Suzanne J. Barbieri under the name Indigo Falls (1996), and one with Tim Bowness from the band No-Man titled Flame (1994).

In late 1993 Barbieri joined the progressive rock band Porcupine Tree (having previously played as a guest performer on the album Up the Downstair). The band released eight studio albums to increasingly greater chart success, and toured in support of many of them. Their first major success was the album In Absentia, which enjoyed chart success around Europe with sales of over 120,000. The following studio albums Deadwing and Fear of a Blank Planet met even greater success, charting highly worldwide. The band transitioned somewhat away from metal with their last album, The Incident, with leader Steven Wilson expressing a desire to enter a different genre. They are currently inactive, though with plans to eventually reform.

The new album 'Not The Weapon But The Hand' from Steve Hogarth and Richard Barbieri was released by Kscope Records February 2012. Hogarth is best known as the frontman of Marillion.'Not The Weapon But The Hand' was completed in late 2011 and features appearances from Danny Thompson on double bass, Arran Ahmun (John Martyn) and Chris Maitland (ex Porcupine Tree) on drums and Dave Gregory (XTC) on guitar, bass and string arrangements.

In 2005 he released his debut solo album Things Buried. Although he has made many albums as part of a group, trio or duo, surprisingly this is his first solo work. The instrumental album also features the distinctive performances of Andy Gangadeen on acoustic and electronic drums, and Percy Jones on fretless bass.

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With Stone to Flesh, Jansen / Barbieri are seen and heard implementing their most ambitious album to date, and with six tracks each weighing in at around the 8 minute mark they deliver with great atmosphere are excitement.  Jansen's trademark percussion plays a central part in building up the tracks from Barbieri's sonic and ambient backing synths and for the first time ever Jansen provides vocals in three tracks, which adds a new dimension to the duos experimental soundscapes.  In what was a bold move, Jansen does an excellent job and goes back to his new wave / romantic roots (akin to his brother, David Sylvian's, unique style)with a smooth and warm performance which is contrasted by some excellent sonic work on the keys from Richard. In addition to featuring David Torn and Mark Feltham, Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson plays electric guitar on 'Stone To Flesh', 'Ringing The Bell Backwards', 'Swim There' and 'Closer Than 'I''.

Jansen and Barbieri - Stone to Flesh ( flac 228mb)

01 Mother London 8:48
02 Sleepers Awake 9:14
03 Ringing The Bell Backwards (Part 1 - Siren/Part 2 - Drift) 9:42
04 Swim There 8:06
05 Closer Than 'I' 7:13
06 Everything Ends In Darkness 7:17

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A six-track CD mini-album credited to Jansen and Yukohiro Takahashi, who previously teamed up on the single-only "Stay Close." The Indian-flavored drum'n' bass of "The Choice" and "Wave" (not the David Sylvian track), fronted by an Olive-sounding Zoe Niblett, wins the day.
Steve Jansen and the YMO's Yukihiro Takahashi combine forces for this predominantly electronic-based chill out recording, which has a certain high class lounge feel to it.  The album was released on the now defunct Medium label and has been out of print for many years - although you can still find the re-mix version of the album if you look in the right places.  The addition of warm female vocals to certain tracks make for an interesting and welcomed move, which helps to create a real diversity within the music which somehow manages to create an upbeat yet relaxing mood. It features English female vocalist Zoe Niblett who has previously recorded with 'Locust'. Yukihiro also performs vocals, as well as Indian classical singer Sonia Mehta, with backing vocals from Tony Mansfield.

Jansen and Takahashi - Pulse + Remix ( flac 450mb)

01 Life's Like That 5:14
02 The Choice 5:15
03 Wave 5:55
04 Memory Without Consequence 5:01
05 A River Dry 5:14
06 Prayer Of Gold 4:53
07 The Choice (Reinforced Mix 4 Hero) 8:07
08 Life's Like That (Rmx Spacer) 4:57
09 Memory Without Consequence (Reflections Confused Bits) 8:12
10 Memory Without Consequence (Interpolated Mix) 3:59
11 Wave (DJ Spooky's Unkut Modular Ekstasis Remix) 6:38
12 A River Dry (The Girl From South) 5:06
13 Prayer OF Gold (Eric Kupper Twelve Inch Mix) 6:50
14 The Choice (4 Hero Electro Groove Mix) 6:27

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Another Anglo-Japan connection, Changing Hands is Jansen/Barbieri's best work for some time, collaborating with respected Japanese DJ / Remixer Takemura takes this work into a new musical area for Jansen and Barbieri. Trance, groove and electronic pieces come together to form a hypnotic listening experience, which is both captivating and dangerously modern. Unique in its creative process, tapes were sent back and forth between London and Tokyo. The collaboration covers a great deal of ground, and while the contributions from messers Jansen and Barbieri and acutely recognisable, there is a lot of new material thrown into the fold which creates an excellent and rich mix.  The closing two tracks, including the fourteen minute Empty Orchestra highlight the album with gorgeous organic soundscapes and drifting synth backings.

Jansen, Barbieri and Takemura - Changing Hands ( flac 280mb)

01 Sun Trap In The Sea 9:09
02 Subtle Bodies 5:46
03 At Eleven 6:10
04 Spaced 6:56
05 Empty Orchestra 14:10
06 The Children Gathering Around The Lake 9:07
07 At Eleven (Remix) 8:46

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Anonymous said...

Hello. Thanks for posting these rare Japan side projects. Would you mind re-upping Stone to Flesh and Changing Hands? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi. Great blog. Could you please re-up the Richard Barbieri LPs? Thank you.