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Rain Tree Crow
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Rain Tree Crow is a succesful blend of more experimental work and songwriting- a work produced from improvised sessions from a band that used to be called Japan (if you're expecting Visions of China...er, don't!)When it was released I was a little cynical about it- why rename Japan? why the ambient noodling? & why title songs things like A Reassuringly Dull Sunday? It didn't seem very instant as an album either- more Plight&Premonition than Secrets of the Beehive...But the passage of time and frequent listening has made me come to adore this album, not unlike another avant-garde inflected album of 1991, Talk Talk's Laughing Stock.
This new edition comes with more lovely artwork, an improved sound & a bonus track in the form of Blackwater b-side I Drink to Forget (a bit of a non-event, think Thoroughly Lost to Logic)Big Wheels in Shanty Town feels like the kind of avant garde jam Radiohead tried to achieve on Amnesiac; it also has a feel not unlike artists like David Byrne & Peter Gabriel (Passion, Catherine Wheel) Every Colour You Are is the first of the great songs- regular Sylvian-guest Phil Palmer offers some sublime slide guitar to Rain Tree Crow's finest song (revisited on Damage & Everything and Nothing)- another peak in Sylvian's oeuvre...

There are several minimal acoustic songs- Rain Tree Crow, Boat's for Burning, Cries & Whispers- which contrast well with the band-songs and the instrumental directions (as a sequence this album really works well as a whole). The acoustic songs also prefigure tracks like 1999's Dobro#1 & much of the recent Blemish. Red Earth (as summetime ends) remains the most gorgeous ambient/instrumental piece here- hence its inclusion on the wonderful 'A Brief History of Ambient' series of compilations.

There are more great songs- single Blackwater, the guitar-inflected Blackcrow Hits Shoeshine City (predicting The First Day sound) & another joy, Pocket Full of Change (which is up there with the not dissimilar After the Flood By Talk Talk)

Rain Tree Crow is one of the Sylvian albums I play the most, which is surprising given how I wasn;t too keen when I first heard it. It has a very individual quality to it- despite referring back to such releases as Gone to Earth & Words with the Shaman, as it looks forward to Dead Bees on a Cake or Blemish. Rain Tree Crow is a perfect blend of ambient and songwriting and an album that should appeal to those with eclectic tastes; file between Bark Psychosis & Talk Talk...& certainly not far away from newer bands like Sigur Ros...
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2011
I can understand why D Sylvian didn't want to market this under former band Japan's name - it is nothing like Japan. The sound is darker, with a more American country feel (perhaps the influence of Sylvian now living in America?), and some tracks are almost instrumental befre Sylvian finally crops up. If it had been sold under the Japan name, no doubt everyone would have said "This isn't Japan!" It plays more like a film soundtrack at times.

This is one of the albums that shows Mr Sylvian's voice getting gradually richer, deeper and with mroe of a burr. By 'Sleepwalkers' he sounds like he's on 50 Marlboro a day. But a very rich and involving sound.

When there are records like this in existence, it makes you wonder how Boyzone ever got in the charts ....
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on 25 January 2014
I HAD BEEN A BIG FAN OF JAPAN AND OF DAVID SYLVIANS SOLO WORK WELL BEFORE I HEARD A"SNIP-IT"INTERVIEW WITH DAVID ON RADIO 1!(WITH BLACKWATER PLAYING IN THE BACKGROUND)!
I RUSHED TO MY LOCAL "OUR PRICE"
RECORD SHOP THE NEXT DAY WHICH WAS IN TAUNTON,SOMERSET AND PURCHASED"RAIN TREE CROW"
IT DIS NOT DISSAPOINT!
A TRULY FANTASTIC ALBUM BRINGING ALL FOUR MEMBERS OF JAPAN BACK TOGETHER FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLEY 10 YEARS!
THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST FOR ALL JAPAN/SYLVIAN FANS!
EVERY TRACK IS FANTASTIC!
LISTEN OUT FOR"EVERY COLOUR YOU ARE"!
ITS ALSO ON "SYLVIANS"NEW GREATEST HITS ALBIUM.
SIMPLY BRILLIANT!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
As with much of Sylvian's solo work, Rain Tree Crow only reveals it's genius after repeated listens. Anyone expecting this Japan reunion in all but name to sound like their more well known material should think again. This is not what you'd expect!
Although the ambient noodlings are hardly essential listening, there are some fantastic songs on here including single "Blackwater", "Pocket Full Of Change", and the brooding "Every Colour You Are". The album works as a whole and the sound quality on this CD is superb.
Fans of Sylvian will love it, just don't dismiss it after your first listen.
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on 14 March 2014
Rain Tree Crow is strangely compelling, even after a couple of plays. There's plenty that feels familiar and yet the overall style is very different from Japan. The presence and unique sound of Mick Karn is evident on many of the tracks, which is a real joy. There's an almost jazz-like, improvised feel to the whole collection. Is it a favourite? Not quite, but nearly.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2010
I love this album and am sure to wear it out before I've finished listening to it. Just seems to be playing in my car the whole time now.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 24 April 2010
This was a short-lived `group' who released one album in 1991. It was to have been released under the Japan name but David Sylvian insisted on using the name Rain Tree Crow. Although the name itself isn't great, it's kind of appropriate that the Japan name wasn't used as the music is more of a departure from the old group. The rest of the band were put out about this and didn't speak to Sylvian for several years.

Sylvian dominated this particular "project" which was very much in keeping with his solo work. The cover photograph of a blasted landscape suits the mood of this nocturnal album. The first track, however is a complete misstep, sounding very much like the band were jumping on the `world music' bandwagon. A vast improvement is the 2nd track, Every Colour You Are, which is, like a lot of the best tracks on this album, brooding, mope-along mood music. Sylvian is in fine voice here and on other tracks such as Pocketful of Change and Blackwater.

The rest of the album is dominated largely by instrumentals, where the band "faffs" about in a sort of AOR, atmospheric way, and it works well. The titles are fantasically pretentious (New Moon at Deer Fallow, A Reassuringly Dull Sunday), not to mention some of the `credits' - treated piano, Steve Jansen and Mick Karn on wine glasses (I kid you not!) on the track I Drink to Forget. There are also moody vocal interludes (Rain Tree Crow, Boat's for Burning), the second of these featuring the brooding quiet threat "strike the match, stand well back, this boat's for burning." Overall the album is a triumph, and in my opinion, better than any of Japan's previous work.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 May 2013
It took a long long time to get into this álbum. I owned it on Vinyl but wanted more Japan,and this is'nt Japan by any means. However, it's crafted, beautifull music, and like a lot of music that needs you to pay attention, is pure gold when your ear adjusts.
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