The Very Best Of Japan






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        Japan
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        dvd





        • Japan: David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen
          Format: PAL
          Language: English
          Region: Region 2 (UK & Europe)
          Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
          Number of discs: 1

          Classification: Exempt
          Studio: EMI
          DVD Release Date: 27 Mar 2006




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        The Very Best Of Japan

        Japan, 2006


          So this is it. This is what a major record label thinks as the very best of the most influential band of the 1980s. Some promo videos where the constraints of budgets are all too apparent and the astonishingly poor quality lighting of the Oil on Canvas gig (did it really look like this? Someone change the lightbulb). There we have it. Everything & nothing. And as the woman from the Ferro Rocher ad would say: 'Sir, you are really spoiling us'.


      • To be fair, this release does at least address the paucity of visual releases from Japan. I mean this stuff hasn't seen the light of day since the early 80s releases of the Oil on Canvas and Instant Pictures videos and they have long since been deleted. And even this frankly uninspired release is far better than anything else released in the 1980s by any other band. Sylvian was and is a musical genius (what Scott Walker was to the 60s and 70s Sylvian is to the 80s onwards); the bass guitar has never sounded so inspired as it does when Karn is playing; Barbieri could get sounds out of a keyboard that Kraftwerk could only dream of; and Jansen's drumming is as soft and subtle as to make it an artform. They were Japan and this is their time, this was their moment and these are the best of moments, well according to Virgin. So the Dvd is not without merit but it could have been so much more. For example, we could have had interviews with band members, those close to the band and interviews from other musicians on how they have been influenced by Japan. Maybe a short film on the history of the band, how and why the Rain Tree Crow project of the early 1990s came about ... anything really that would give us a new angle on the band for there is precious little out there.

        All of that would have meant spending a bit more money on the release and that is something neither of the record labels associated with the group have never shown an inclination to do. Maybe that's a bit unfair on Virgin who released their later stuff but I do think this release as well as the CD release could have been done better. Hansa, who were responsible for the early Japan releases, have never shown the slightest interest in spending anything more than they could get away with! I mean, can you think of a back catalogue of a band that has been as poorly handled as Japan's? A mis-match of releases without rhyme or reason other than to cash in on Japan's fame when they switched to Virgin, Hansa and BMG, who bought Hansa out, have released some truly awful compilations (En Vogue anyone?). Never in the history of music has a back catalogue been so desecrated as Japan's by Hansa as Winston Churchill would no doubt have said had he been aware of the situation.

        The back catalogue is really just a mess. Until a company out there who could buy the back catalogue and spend some time and money releasing it with some sort of continuity plan then the problem will never be addressed.

        The directing of Oil on Canvas is incredibly flat. The lighting as mentioned is poor and the graphics are distinctly of their time. But it is Japan in concert and, I don't know, the deficiencies of the production give it a certain charm as they are of the early 1980s and take you back to the time when all concert videos looked like this. Visually, the stand-out of the promos is Visions of China.

        I'd recommend this Dvd as let's face it, what else is officially out there on Japan.

        Better than nothing but what a missed opportunity.


        Official Blurb


        For the first time ever, footage of this iconic 80's band has been compiled together for a Very Best of Japan DVD.

        Long-awaited by fans, this DVD combines 7 promotional videos from both the Virgin and Hansa years, with their era-defining sets and graphics reflecting the band's inimitable style, plus the seminal Oil on Canvas live show from the Hammersmith Odeon in 1983.



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          ------------------------------------------------------------------
          TRACK LISTING
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          1. Main Menu
          2. Promos Menu
          3. Oil On Canvas Menu
          4. Life In Tokyo
          5. Quiet Life
          6. I Second That Emotion
          7. Gentlemen Take Polaroids
          8. Swing
          9. Visions of China
          10. Nightporter
          11. Oil On Canvas (Live)
          12. Sons Of Pioneers (Live)
          13. Gentlemen Take Polaroids (Live)
          14. Swing (Live)
          15. Cantonese Boy (Live)
          16. Visions Of China (Live)
          17. Canton (Live)
          18. Ghosts (Live)
          19. Still Life In Mobile Homes (Live)
          20. Methods Of Dance (Live)
          21. The Art Of Parties (Live)
          22. Voices Raised In Welcome, Hands Held In Prayer (Live)
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          UK 2006
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          Colour
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          82 mins. approx.
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          0946 3 57634 9 2
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      • Price: Sold


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