14 Songs, 1 Hour 4 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

What appeared to be a crass cash grab by Hansa/BMG to milk Japan’s first three albums to capitalize on the band’s post-1979 fame (on Virgin) was really a worthy roundup of the band’s early glam and androgynous (yet weirdly sexless) white-boy soul. The collection goes from brilliantly tortured funk-glam (“Adolescent Sex”) to two-toned reggae (“Rhodesia”) to a hushed, beautifully crooned Velvet Underground cover (“All Tomorrow’s Parties”) and a strangely hypnotic synth- and horn-stroked Smokey Robinson classic (“I Second that Emotion”). It finishes on three Giorgio Moroder–helmed sides: a remix of “European Son” and two versions (one radio, one 12-inch) of the big-in-Japan disco-ball “Life in Tokyo.” It’s fun to hear how in just two years (1978 and 1979) youngster Mick Karn crafted a style that altered how a whole generation of bassists approached their instruments and how singer David Sylvian dropped personae (from decadent glamster to disco glamster to urbane crooner) like prom dresses.

EDITORS’ NOTES

What appeared to be a crass cash grab by Hansa/BMG to milk Japan’s first three albums to capitalize on the band’s post-1979 fame (on Virgin) was really a worthy roundup of the band’s early glam and androgynous (yet weirdly sexless) white-boy soul. The collection goes from brilliantly tortured funk-glam (“Adolescent Sex”) to two-toned reggae (“Rhodesia”) to a hushed, beautifully crooned Velvet Underground cover (“All Tomorrow’s Parties”) and a strangely hypnotic synth- and horn-stroked Smokey Robinson classic (“I Second that Emotion”). It finishes on three Giorgio Moroder–helmed sides: a remix of “European Son” and two versions (one radio, one 12-inch) of the big-in-Japan disco-ball “Life in Tokyo.” It’s fun to hear how in just two years (1978 and 1979) youngster Mick Karn crafted a style that altered how a whole generation of bassists approached their instruments and how singer David Sylvian dropped personae (from decadent glamster to disco glamster to urbane crooner) like prom dresses.

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