"Since Japan broke up all four members have left the pop arena and this latest release continues the trend. The esoteric nature of the music, exploring improvisational techniques and incorporating walls of sound with jazz-style rhythms, is a trait to be found on a lot of the members' previous works. Not always immediately accessible, most of the tracks tend to draw you in slowly, with complex sound layering and hooks that eventually stick and grow in force. Styles change enormously, from meandering, broody pieces to more conventional (dare I say?) pop." KEYBOARD MAGAZINE
Started in 1993, Medium Productions features the works of Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and Mick Karn, all formerly of the group Japan / Rain Tree Crow. In marketing their own material, Steve, Richard and Mick see Medium as a means to release material outside of commercial label constraints. And, boy, we know there are many!
Mick Karn/The Concrete Twin ....CD $17.99
With a definite sense of jazz, swing and drum and bass throughout, laced with a dramatic symphonic feel, The Concrete Twin comprises of 10 dense tracks that reach the point of being overpowering at times. Pete Lockett (drums and percussion) appears on several tracks, while all other instrumentation is by Mick, including the long neglected dida and ocarina, unheard since the recording of Tin Drum and Titles.
Richard Barbieri/Things Buried ....CD $13.99
"Things Buried" is the debut solo album from Richard Barbieri. Surprisingly this is his first solo work despite a musical career that has spanned four decades. He joined the group Japan in 1976 and although initially perceived as a hyped act, the band went on to enjoy commercial success and critical acclaim. They were one of the most successful bands of the early eighties and the album "Tin Drum" is still considered today a classic innovative work. He has been a member of the rock band Porcupine Tree for years. To mention all the albums, collaborations, tours, and guest appearances over the years requires a detailed discography. Suffice to say that Richard's musical output has been substantial and varied and he has worked on many projects alongside some of the most innovative artists of our time. "Things Buried" is an instrumental work that highlights Barbieri's unique approach to sound and mood, ranging from textural atmospherics to dynamic rhythmic passages. The album also features the distinctive styles of Percy Jones (Brian Eno, Brand X, Tunnels) on fretless bass guitar and Andy Gangadeen (The Bays, Massive Attack) on drums.
Richard Barbier/Stranger Inside ....CD $16.99
New solo album from Japan and Porcupine Tree keyboard legend. Spanning four decades, Richard Barbieri's eclectic musical career has encompassed innovative contributions to Japan in the 1980s and contemporary worldwide success with Porcupine Tree today. Following the artistic and critical success of his 2005 solo debut album, Things Buried, Stranger Inside further develops Barbieri's unique approach to texture, haromny and rhythm. Writing and producing the album himself, the album includes contrubutions from long-term creative partners Steve Jansen (mixing/co-arranging), Steven Wilson (mastering), Gavin Harrison (drums) and the legendary double bass player, Danny Thompson (currently enjoying renewed acclaim as part of the reformed Pentangle). Although instrumental in nature, most tracks feature radical and atmospheric manipulations of the sampled voices of Tim Bowness and Suzanne Barbieri.
Mick Karn/Selected ....import CD $18.99
A selection of tracks taken mainly from various solo albums spanning 13 years, with the exception of Lunette from the Liquid Glass album, a collaboration between Mick Karn and Japanese Drum and Bass artist Yoshihiro Hanno. It's a kind of best of from the former Japan bassist. The pieces illustrate Mick's unique style of bass playing and the diversity of his work. Recently referred to in the country of Japan as "the God of bass guitar", Mick's influence within music is undisputed, changing the way bass is heard as well as played for generations to come. Pete Townshend of The Who goes as far as rating him "the best bass player in the world". The majority of these albums have never been made available to stores and were only available from Mick's website.
Mick Karn/Three Part Species ....import CD $17.99
Mick Karn's 7th solo album illustrates more than any other, how completely in command of musical composition he has become. A mixture of so many diverse types of music that, somehow never, even for a second, sound confused in direction. It's impossible with each piece to predict which genre will come next, as the listener is guided through Mick Karn's unique world. At times, there are elements of Motown rhythms and gospel choirs, classical arrangements and rock guitars, passing through hip-hop and jazz fusion, ethnic traditions and pop songs. The fast tempo bass on 'Twitchy Hand Mover' leaves you wondering how it is possible to actually play such lines, as it totally dominates the track, but then again, so do the clarinets in 'Chocolate Was A Boy', and the acoustic instrumentation in 'Pitta Pop'. The album includes the voice of new vocalist Bex Collins, who Mick chose after auditioning 'All You Have' through the Mick Karn website. It also has Mick singing on two songs, the title track from the single 'Of & About' and 'The Wrong Truth'. "I find both my vocal tracks to be quite moving love songs, but that's my own personal interpretation, they might not readily come across the same to anyone else." Mick commented, "I've always felt with music that the listener should draw their own conclusions from how it makes them feel at any given time. A happy song for some can often appear sad to others." There are places that will leave you floating in surrealism, while others anchor you to the ground with solidly formed structures and melodies, and the only disappointment likely to be felt when listening to Three Part Species, is the wish at the end of each track, for more of the same. When asked to explain where some of his influences for writing came from, Mick only had one thing to say: "The life I'm living of course, where else?"
Mick Karn/Of & About ....import CD single $9.99
The 3 track double A side features 2 songs slated for Mick's 7th solo album due for release later this year (albeit in special 'single versions'). The title track is a blend of Hip-Hop rhythms, evangelical choirs, Jazz and catchy vocals, all brought together with a melodic and unpredictable bass line. Although the description may sound complicated, it belies the simplicity of the love song at the heart of 'Of & About'. MK "I see it as a jigsaw puzzle of sounds, each fitting neatly into its own space without disturbing the overall picture." The alternative A side introduces the voice of new vocalist Bex Collins in a dark, moody setting with the surprising addition of fuzz bass guitars and a Gypsy violin. 'All You Have' was auditioned extensively before Mick decided on Bex as the missing element needed to complete the song. "I gave no indication of what I wanted to hear," explains Mick, "It's a strange track, but I knew the right singer would understand it without any guidance." The third piece, 'Edge Of Charm' is an up-beat instrumental exclusively recorded for the single.
Fans of this music are also likely to greatly enjoy the work of Kit Watkins. And don't forget to check out David Sylvian as well.
These three gentlemen are master musicians and, like other members of The Artist Shop, are responsible for a lot of fine music whether on their own or assisting others. If you love this music, you'll definitely want to go to our Text Catalog to check out their work with these other fine artists.
Robby Aceto ~ Joan Armatrading ~ Michael Brook ~ Kate Bush ~ Dali's Car ~ Dolphin Brothers ~ Mark Isham ~ Jakko ~ Jansen/Barbieri ~ Japan ~ Mick Karn ~ Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan ~ Lonely Universe ~ Bill Nelson ~ Porcupine Tree ~ Andy Rinehart ~ Ryuichi Sakamoto ~ David Sylvian ~ David Torn ~ Torn/Karn/Bozzio ~ Midge Ure
Also, be sure to check out the following categories in Sheetmusicplus
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