Mick Karn


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Multi-instrumentalist Mick Karn's first album as a solo artist reveals the significant degree to which Japan's sound was shaped by his bass playing. The presence of Japan drummer Steve Jansen and keyboardist Richard Barbieri, combined with Karn's own singing style (which owes a heavy debt to former bandmate David Sylvian), only strengthens the impression that this is a Japan album in all but name. While Karn plays various woodwinds and keyboards as well as bass on Titles, it is his amazingly agile and creative fretless bass playing that holds center stage, even when he is singing. Lyrically, the songs are mostly unremarkable, though "Sensitive" features both a lovely melodic hook and the recurring couplet "If you shook their hands and stabbed them/Maybe they'd become sensitive." "Saviour, Are You With Me?" is also rather unusual, a traditional gospel song rearranged in a somewhat blocky funk setting. Other tracks offer hints of reggae, North African modalism, and ambient experimentalism. This album should be considered a must-have for fans of Japan and of Dali's Car (Karn's post-Japan duo project with Peter Murphy), but most others will hear it as not much more than a period curiosity.

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