Japan – Quiet Life

This new reissue is aptly timed: Music On Vinyl created a back-cover tribute to Japan bassist Mick Karn, who passed away this past January. It is here, too, that you realize that this is no ordinary reissue as the track listing reveals that the original single-disc LP has grown into a 3LP package on limited red vinyl.

Unravelling the bonus tracks breaks down to this: Out of the four extra sides, there’s the UK 7” version of “Quiet Life” and a special remix of “Life In Toyko” from The Very Best Of Japan; a remix of “Life In Tokyo” from the album collection Assemblage and a 12” extended remix of “Quiet Life”; a 12” version of “I Second That Emotion,” three further versions of “Life In Tokyo”; “A Foreign Place” (the B-Side of the “Quiet Life” 7” single); a 12” version of “Fall In Love With Me”; and three Steve Nye remixes of “All Tomorrow’s Parties,” “I Second That Emotion,” and “European Son,” all found on the rare Singles Compilation previously issued in Japan (the country, that is). You also get the Japanese lyric insert found in the original LP issue.

Holland-based Music On Vinyl has the benefit of owning and running its own pressing plant. There are definite advantages, and two positives stood out after just a few seconds. First, the pressing is dead-quiet, ranking up there with Mobile Fidelity’s standards. The presentation offered tremendous clarity; Karn’s bass and David Sylvian’s voice emerge from an inky blackness. Second, the recording yields impressively deep bass that helps drive the music forward. Low-frequency output can be a real diaphragm-mover given the right hi-fi rig. The album’s cohesive nature has also been measurably improved because the instruments occupying the broad soundstage now have more room to manoeuvre, providing a sense of calm and ease. Even if you have the original issue, you’d be wise to consider this upgrade. –Paul Rigby

Music On Vinyl, 180g 3LP