A Tourist’s Guide to ‘Life In Tokyo’ – Part 3


‘Life In Tokyo’ ‘Souvenir From Japan’ compilation version (4’02”)

‘Life In Tokyo’ ‘Souvenir From Japan’ compilation version (4’02”)

Another Hansa label compilation and yet another variation of ‘Life In Tokyo’ sees light of day, least when you might expect it. By 1989, Japan were a long time gone and this compilation appeared out of the blue, bang in the middle of all things Madchester, Acid House and the like. No ‘Assemblage’-like sales here, sadly, an all too easily missed release. Nevertheless, I first bought this on cassette (there was never a vinyl release) and later on CD.

The 1989 Japan compilation CD 'Souvenir From Japan'
^ The 1989 Japan compilation CD ‘Souvenir From Japan’

Immediately, it was obvious to my ears that we had yet another version of the track on the go. It resembles the 1982 version from the ‘Assemblage’ Special Edition Double Play cassette, but it is far from the same. At just over four minutes in duration, its not only a good bit shorter than that version but it is different mix altogether. It is not just that the intro has been shortened down so it gets to the main chorus and then first verse much more swiftly, or that it fades out earlier – no, there are all kinds of edits. Taking a listen from about the 3’15” mark, on this version there are only the female backing vocals chanting “Oh, oh, oh life can be cruel… life in Tokyo” – compare with the longer mix and Sylvian’s vocal is also present alongside those female vocals on that mix.

This is the only Japan release (so far) to include this mix, but it has also appeared on the Uncut magazine’s cover-mount compilation CD ‘Dawn Of Electronica’ [2000, Uncut UNCUTCD 001].

Also worth noting, that K-Tel records compilation from 1982 (mentioned in part 2 of this series) looks to have been a shortened version of this mix.

It is likely that the forthcoming March 2021 ‘Life In Tokyo’ CD EP that accompanies the ‘Quiet Life’ deluxe edition re-issue includes this as what’s described on that as ‘Assemblage 7″ Remix 1981’ (even if it never appeared on ‘Assemblage’ nor was released in 1981!)

Uncut magazine's cover-mount compilation CD 'Dawn Of Electronica'
^ Uncut magazine’s cover-mount compilation CD ‘Dawn Of Electronica’

Coming in Part 4… the 2021 re-releases at last…

2 Replies to “A Tourist’s Guide to ‘Life In Tokyo’ – Part 3”

  1. Moroder did the odd remixes like the Souvenir from Japan version. That it’s his mix was mentioned in press ads for the 1982 single, but they were done earlier. Nye did his mix with Karn and Sylvian in late 1981 at the same time as the remix of European Son which also has some overdubs. I don’t know for sure but it’s likely Sylvian who contributed the art direction as well preferred the Nye mixes over the Moroder ones for the 1982 single. Obviously the wrong tapes were used for the Assemblage cassette as the artwork makes you assume it was meant to include the Nye mix. Ditto the various artists comp. One thing I was asked to do in the early 2000s is explain which mic was which to BMG, and I monks the same happened a couple of years back but with someone else (who checked with me). BMG also have the DMC Sanny X mix, which is regarded as official in the legal sense, but not approved / sanctioned by the band.

  2. Fascinating stuff – all great detail to know, thanks again Paul. Working on a Part 4 now that box set is out to tie up the loose ends…

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