Customer Review

12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing compilation for band which deserves better, 11 Jan 2004
This review is from: Exorcising Ghosts (Audio CD)
Although this is the least tacky of the numerous Japan compilations in the marketplace (namely because it was the first, issued by Virgin in 1984) the admittedly well-titled and nicely packaged 'Excorsising Ghosts' falls far short of a comprehensive review of the bands finest moments.
Absolutely nothing from their Hansa-EMI period is included, the best tracks of which can be found on the excellent 'Assemblage' compilation from 1981, and thus the compilation essentially takes us just from late-1979 to mid-1981 in terms of studio recordings.
From the Virgin era, there are also some blinding omissions and some very odd inclusions. There is no 'Cantonese Boy', no 'Still Life In Mobile Homes', no 'Halloween', no 'Swing' and no 'Life In Tokyo', one of their best known tracks. However, the compliers thought it'd be a good idea to include dull album cuts such as the stodgy 'Talking Drum', the lumbering 'My New Career', the annoying 'Art of Parties' and the non-album track, 'Life Without Buildings'.
This was clearly a cynical and hastily complied cash-in on the then recent demise of the band, which had split in December 1982 when band leader David Sylvian decided to pursue a solo career (although Japan briefly reformed in 1991 under the pseudonym 'Rain Tree Crow' for one further album). We wait and wonder for a decent, chronologically-correct retrospective of this fine band's work to see the light of day.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 4 Oct 2008 08:33:34 BDT
Xepha says:
This is a mistaken review in that this is a live album not a compilation. So the omissions and exclusions are those of the band's setlist at the time, not of compilers. I wouldn't call it a cynical cash-in, certainly no more than any other live album.

It's a very atmospheric recording that reworks some earlier songs to fit with Japan's Tin Drum sound and aesthetic. Certainly worth getting if you like Tin Drum.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jan 2009 02:31:14 GMT
This is not a live album it's a compilation of songs from the Virgin era. You must be confusing this with Oil On Canvas the only live album they have released.

Posted on 6 Apr 2009 22:57:37 BDT
Sandra Dee says:
This is a compilation not a live album and it could be a good one, but on this CD they omitted many songs that are on the original double LP of Exorcising Ghosts, most of the ones you think are missing on this CD are on the records. Maybe you need to hunt down the original vinyls if you want a good musical compilation of Japan's later years.

Posted on 26 May 2009 18:28:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 May 2009 18:29:05 BDT
J. Pawson says:
Absolutely spot on! Buy the Quiet Life, Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum albums!

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Aug 2010 01:28:48 BDT
Jason Parkes says:
Good response - I think they should bring out a 2-cd version of this with some earlier stuff on and the original/un-Sylvian remixed 'Some Kind of Fool' - almost released on Gentlemen Take Polaroids. Some of Oil on Canvas could be put on too....

I do recall that DS selected the original double LP - I had Assemblage and got this for Xmas in 1986. It blew my mind. The title wasn't just an allusion to the year zero (& biggest hit) that was 'Ghosts', but a lyric from 'Nostalgia' - located on Sylvian's perfect debut 'Brilliant Trees...'
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