Japan

Taking Islands in Africa

Song Review by

The closing track from 1980's Gentlemen Take Polaroids, "Taking Islands In Africa" forecasts the ambient pop direction Japan (and leader David Sylvian) would take for the rest of their careers. A collaboration between Sylvian and Yellow Magic Orchestra leader Ryuichi Sakamoto, "Taking Islands In Africa" is built on a very non-rock African talking drum rhythm, slowed down to a sub-heartbeat crawl and overlaid with layers of atmospheric keyboards and minimal bass. Sylvian's urbane voice croons his abstract, poetic lyrics over a backing chorus of wordless sighs and ululations, and the whole song is impressively spacious, elegant and beautifully done. It's probably Japan's finest five minutes.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Gentlemen Take Polaroids 1980 Virgin 5:20
Japan 1982 Epic
Gentlemen Take Polaroids/Tin Drum/Oil on Canvas 1990 Virgin 5:13