WHEN CAN MET JAPAN: DAVID SYLVIAN AND HOLGER CZUKAY’S WONDERFUL AMBIENT COLLABORATIONS.
The UK glam band Japan had a singularly interesting career—though influenced by the usual glam touchstones Bowie, Dolls, et al, their visual presentation directly predicted the New Romantic movement, and to this day the band is still somewhat incorrectly associated with that flamboyant scene, largely on the basis of similar haircuts. But Japan were more directly from the art-rock mold, experimenting with funk, electronics, and (surprise surprise) Asian musics. By 1982, as new-ro peaked, and the band was starting to climb from cult success to chart success, personal tensions broke them up. But the band’s singer, David Sylvian, continued as a solo artist in the avant-rock mold, collaborating with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Ryuichi Sakamoto, and releasing adventurous sophisto-pop albums inspired by jazz, prog, and contemporary classical.