Jun 16, 2013

Sundaze 1324

Hello, another week passed, another week closer to The Unveiling, ah yes the inevitable awaits us all. The officially oldest human died this week, he had been a postmen and middleaged when WW II broke out, the last man born in the 19th century, he died 116 years old. Expectations are the number of centerians to rise considerably the coming decades, specially the rich will be able to afford all the medical advances. Society will tear further, yes but how about the weather ?........

Today a man who wanted to be able to slide and bend notes as I'd learnt to do with the violin and so decided to take all the frets off the bass guitar. He brought the ultimate background instrument to the foreground in a wide range   . .... N'Joy

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Born Anthony Michelides, July 24 1958, Mick Karn emigrated to London as a Greek Cypriot when he was 3 years old and from an early age was looking for ways to express himself. He began with the chromatic mouth organ at the age of 7 and then the violin when 11, both lasted just 3 years before he was offered the chance to take up the bassoon with the school orchestra and later chosen as a member of the London School Symphony Orchestra. After a big concert, which was broadcast on Radio 4, the bassoon was stolen from him on the way home. His school refused to buy him another, and in anger at their decision, he bought a bass guitar for £5 from a school friend.. And so ended Mick's career in classical music.

By this time, he had already made friends with like-minded teenagers David Sylvian and younger brother, Steve Jansen who were coincidentally both learning their own instruments, David an acoustic guitar and Steve, bongos. It seemed a natural progression that David move on to an electric guitar, and if Steve were then to progress to drums, they could form a band together and escape the confines of south London. That was the plan and a month later they performed for the first time as Japan on June 1st 1974 when Mick was 15. Over the next two years, they each concentrated on developing their own styles, rehearsing their own music together every day.

MK: "I wanted to be able to slide and bend notes as I'd learnt to do with the violin and so decided to take all the frets off the bass guitar. I also began playing bass directly after the bassoon which, although a bass instrument, often plays lead melodies, both of these factors were major influences in shaping the way I play.

Mick bumped into Richard Barbieri one morning (another school friend) who he invited to one of their daily rehearsals. Richard instantly wanted to join the band. They needed a keyboard player and weren't too worried that Richard had no experience with music because more importantly, he had a steady job working at a bank, and so became our main source of income for the band's equipment. Japan were now a four piece and ready to advertise for another guitarist (Rob Dean) and management, which led on to their first record contract with Ariola/Hansa in 1977 and subsequently, their first album release.

Punk rock was at it's peak and as a reaction to it, Japan decided to not be seen as part of the fashion and so went in the opposite direction, creating their own look with long dyed hair and make up. Tours in Europe and the U.S. saw them playing to hostile audience, they were not well received, with the exception of one territory, Japan, where they instantly became the number one foreign act and remain to this day a lasting influence, both musically and visually. By the time of their third album release Quiet Life in 1979, punk was no longer dominant and Japan's sound had altered drastically. Mick brought saxophones and clarinets into the arrangements, and there seemed to be a string of lookalike/soundalike bands emerging in the U.K. Japan were heralded as innovators of a new sound and era in music, the New Romantics. For Japan, this simply meant it was time to, once again, move on leaving the others behind. No-one could have foreseen the direction they would take with their fifth album Tin Drum in 1981, a blend of Chinese pop music with their own distinctive mood making it a truly outstanding and original work. Nor could anyone have predicted it would be Japan's last studio album.

By now, Mick Karn had most certainly been heard and released his first solo album Titles on Virgin in 1982. His unique style had musicians from all types of genres wanting his contribution to their own work, from Jeff Beck to Gary Numan. That same year, he was chosen by Pete Townshend to be part of a supergroup to perform for Prince Charles and Lady Diana in celebration of their engagement. Mick left a marked impression at the event, which later led onto collaborative work with Midge Ure and recordings with Kate Bush and Joan Armatrading.

Karn had also surprised the art world by holding his first sculpture exhibition in 1981 to outstanding critical acclaim, with many reviews and features in columns and magazines not usually frequented by musicians. Proving himself as an accomplished artist with his often disturbing works of art, he has held 5 exhibitions in London, Japan and Italy. The next project was to be a trio with vocalist Pete Murphy (Bauhaus) and drummer Paul Lawford. Dali's Car released The Waking Hour in 1984, with all instrumentation written and played by Mick, an experiment in stripping music down to it's bare minimum, whilst retaining a strong mood and Middle Eastern flavour. A taste from which he'd picked up from his mother who used to listen to it.

1987 saw Karn's 2nd solo release Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters. Relying heavily on his classical beginnings, using woodwind and brass more extensively as well as harmonica, accordion and even choirs to complete it's haunting themes, as well as Steve Jansen on drums and in the producer's chair. Truly a step away from the expected rock genre and into a field of it's own. By now, Mick's bass guitar had reached the world of Jazz and the next few years saw him working with some remarkable players. An experimental project, Polytown, saw Karn work with David Torn and drummer Terry Bozzio. There then came another surprise decision and a sojourn from solo work as Japan reformed for a one off album under the new name of Rain Tree Crow in 1991. The recording held no reference at all to where Japan had left off, but rather showed a distinct maturity amongst the members. Mick decided to play an unfamiliar five string bass to differentiate his playing from the style listeners had become accustomed to, and in some cases left the bass out altogether, concentrating on bass clarinet as the lead instrument.

Through the associations he'd made within the Jazz world, Karn recorded his next album Bestial Cluster in 1993 for German Jazz label CMP . Co-produced with David Torn, who also played the guitars, Steve Jansen on drums and Richard Barbieri on Keyboards, a Bestial Cluster tour with the same line-up of Europe and dates in Japan followed. CMP also signed Polytown to their label. The album Polytown was written recorded and mixed in three weeks and released in 1994. A staggering feat for any group of musicians, improvised, heavy and far from Jazz. Karn recorded another album for CMP in 1995 - The Tooth Mother, with Natasha Atlas on Middle Eastern vocals. This was to be Karn's most ethnic CD to date and, curiously, also his most funky, drawing on both of those early influences to enhance the ever present dark moods.

Mick's work with Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri decided to form their own record label Medium Productions as an outlet for collaborative work independent of limitations set by major labels. Forming their own unit JBK, they recorded several CDs together (Beginning To Melt, Seed, _ism ) including a live recording "Playing in a Room With People" taken from some rare shows in Tokyo and London . Included on Mick"s discography for Medium is a collaboration with Japanese Drum and Bass artist Yoshihiro Hanno, Liquid Glass released in 1998. Mick's next solo recording was to be for the Medium Productions label in 2000 and took a distinct step away from the last two CMP albums. Eye a Path was to be Karn's most introspective and personal of albums, drawing on troubled past experiences as it's source of inspiration. However, he was delighted to see the response from fellow musicians lead to an eventual remix album in 2002 entitled: Each Path a Remix, the contributors being Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Torn, Richard Barbieri, Paul Wong and Claudio Chianuro.

Mick then shifted gear again, this time towards what can only be described as instrumental pop. More Better Different was released in 2004 by Invisible Hands Music and reviews certainly agree with the sentiments in the title. 2005 Karn released a EP called Love's Glove and  released his 7th solo studio recording, Three Part Species as well as going on an own extensive tour later that year. In 2007 he released Selected a compilation from his own hand. Karn had left London in 2004 to live in Cyprus with his wife and son, financially enabling himself to keep working as a musician/artist.

In 2009, Karn also released his autobiography, titled Japan & Self Existence, available through his website and Lulu, which details his music career, his interests in sculpture and painting, his childhood, relationships, and family. The next year he released The Concrete Twin, basicly a soloalbum , he renewed contact with Peter Murphy his former Dalis Car partner and it was agreed to do another Dalis Car album. The project was cut short, however, as Karn had recently been diagnosed with cancer. He died on 4 January 2011. Five of the tracks they did record were released on 5 April 2012 as an EP entitled InGladAloneness.

In June 2010, Karn announced on his website that he had been diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer, though the specific type of cancer was not mentioned. According to David Torn, Karn's cancer had apparently already spread and he was undergoing chemotherapy. The website announcement stated that Karn had been struggling financially for some time, and appealed for donations to help pay for his medical care and provide financial assistance for his family. In addition, several people Karn has worked with, in particular Midge Ure, Porcupine Tree, and Masami Tsuchiya, announced concerts in support of the appeal. According to a website update dated 3 September 2010, the funds raised by the appeal enabled Karn and family to move back to London where Karn received treatment. However, the cancer had spread beyond the possibility of treatment, and Karn died at home in London on 4 January 2011.

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A 12" from the Dreams Of Reason Produce Monsters album David Sylvian doing his thing on the A-side Buoy, curious album title though.

Mick Karn (Feat David Sylvian) - Buoy EP (86) ( flac 85mb)

01 Buoy 5:02
02 Dreams Of Reason 3:43
03 Language Of Ritual 5:43

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Guitarist David Torn, bassist Mick Karn, and drummer Terry Bozio play a total of over 20 instruments in this far-reaching musical experiment, released in 1994 on avant- fusion label CMP Records. Led by Torn's scattered almost-melodies, these ten tracks present a tribal jazz ambiance and near-constant guitar and bass noodling that fans of Torn and Karn's prior work will enjoy. Bozio's expressive percussion stylings are up to the drummer's world-class standard, and carry Polytown beyond the new age oblivion similar records inhabit. Despite the virtuoso, heavily-nuanced performances, however, this challenging collection still might not posses the cohesion necessary to interest listeners unfamiliar with so much obsessive compulsive instrumentalism. There is an uncredited nugget of prose inside the CD case that says it best; "Rivers of warm sand like snakes coil around Polytown often flooding into larger reptiles." Impossibly meaningless, but odd and beautiful -- that's the dichotomy of Polytown.

Mick Karn, David Torn & Terry Bozzio - Polytown (flac  304mb)

01 Honey Sweating 5:45
02 Palms For Lester 6:43
03 Open Letter To The Heart Of Diaphora 4:38
04 Bandaged By Dreams 6:53
05 Warrior Horsemen Of The Spirit Thundering Over Hills Of Doubt To A Place Of Hope 5:01
06 Snail Hair Dune 9:31
07 This Is The Abduction Scene 3:09
08 Red Sleep 4:27
09 Res Majuko 3:42
10 City Of The Dead 3:30

Mick Karn, David Torn & Terry Bozzio - Polytown ( ogg 122mb)

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Fretless bass and clarinet player Mick Karn, like former Japan band mates David Sylvian and Richard Barbiari, embarked on a solo career trajectory based on creativity and experiment well outside mainstream musical tastes. With his unmistakably distinct playing style and virtuoso technique on the bass guitar and his skills with various woodwind instruments, Mick fuses experimental rock, funk, and jazz into a Middle Eastern idiom that defies easy categorization on The Tooth Mother. Supported by a wide range of musicians, including the likes of guitarist David Torn and former band mate Richard Barbiari who, along with drummer Gavin Harrison and guitarist Steve Wilson, would ultimately form three quarters of Porcupine Tree, the album is quite simply unique.

From the opening of the album with Thundergirl Mutation, Karn’s bass playing was solid and immediate, bass guitar chords, low winds, synthesizers, and percussion. The album closes with There Was Not Anything But Nothing, which brings the winds to the forefront over the bass guitar playing. With a rich arrangement and a chord structure that shifts through harmonic changes.

Mick Karn - The Tooth Mother ( flac 255mb)

01 Thundergirl Mutation 7:06
02 Plaster The Magic Tongue 5:56
03 Lodge Of Skins 5:29
04 Gossip's Cup 6:21
05 Feta Funk 5:42
06 The Tooth Mother 5:37
07 Little - Less Hope 6:47
08 There Was Not Anything But Nothing 5:18

Mick Karn - The Tooth Mother  ( ogg 105mb)

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Two Polytown tracks, "Bandaged By Dreams" and "Red Sleep" are presented in this compilation of Mick Karn studio material. Four other recording sessions are sampled. One, is a previously unreleased piece entitled "Drawings We Have Lived." This is left over from the Tooth Mother creation. There are two alternate versions from the Bestial Cluster sessions. They are the title track and "Liver and Lungs." Also brought into play is Andy Rinehart's Jason's Chord and the Lonely Universe album from Michael White and Michel Lambert. Both recordings featured Karn prominently. The two common denominators here are multi-instrumentalists Karn himself (bass, vocals, bass clarinet, alto sax, keyboards and more) and Torn(guitars, mandolin, koto, electric sitar, Hammon B-3 and more). Sixteen other musicians contribute to the aggregate material, including keyboardist Richard Barbieri (Japan, Porcupine Tree), vocalist Natacha Atlas and more. In Karn's hands the bass is a fluid, melodic instrument of depth and extensive vocabulary. The material here is rich in intricate arrangements and diverse presentation. Any serious fan of progressive world music, experimental rock or the further possibilities of bass-led rock owes it to themselves to acquire this collection.

Mick Karn - The Mick Karn Collector's Edition ( flac 348mb)

01 Little - Less Hope 6:46
02 Bestial Cluster (Alternative Edits) 3:42
03 Bandaged By Dreams 6:54
04 Feta Funk 5:42
05 Liver And Lungs (Alternative Mix) 5:25
06 Saday, Maday 6:28
07 Corridor 4:44
08 House Of Home 5:26
09 Drawings We Have Lived (Previously Unreleased) 4:46
10 Red Sleep 4:26
11 There Was Not Anything But Nothing 5:18

Mick Karn - The Mick Karn Collector's Edition (ogg 137mb)

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previously, Rhotation 49 re-rips

Mick Karn - Titles (82  ^ 91mb)
Mick Karn - Titles (flac  ^ 251mb)

Dalis Car - The Waking Hour (ogg 180mb)
Dalis Car - The Waking Hour (flac 185mb)

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bobbysu said...

thank you so much

El Isabelino said...

I know that there were plenty of virtuoso or too many notes for christ's sake bass players before and after Karn, but no one has ever made me go "what the $@#*! was that?" like him. Truly missed. Thanks & Saludos.

Juan Carlos Caballero said...

Gracias desde México, D.F.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see this again. Thank you very much.