Archive for the ‘Region crazy’ Category

A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)’ Japanese CD (Mute ALCB-5, 1989)

Wednesday, April 7th, 2021

It was still in the era of vinyl-only for me when I first bought this album – it would not be until Wire’s ‘Manscape’ album the following year that the lure of CD would prove too much, since a good chunk of that album was missing from the vinyl copy. ‘One Of Our Girls (Has Gone Missing)’ was the one and only album release by A.C. Marias and the Wire connection comes via Bruce Gilbert primarily, though it stretched back to 1980 and the ‘Dome’ album by Gilbert and Lewis (with vocals on the cool and strange ‘Cruel When Complete’) then 1981 and first actual A.C. Marias named release on the Gilbert/Lewis ‘Dome’ label, with single ‘Drop’/‘So’.

I’m focusing here on the Japanese CD release which I came across many years later when I realised it benefitted for extra tracks that the UK CD did not include.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - front cover design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – front cover design

This album is a good bit different from that first single – somewhat more technology driven by this stage. As well as Angela Conway herself, credits are minimal – near non-existent in truth, and seem to miss off some that had already been detailed on the singles – but they namecheck Mute/Blackwing Studios stalwarts Gareth Jones, Paul Kendall and John Fryer, as well as Wire’s Bruce Gilbert, while writing credits are mostly Conway and Gilbert, other than the two cover versions and a co-write with Jones on ‘To Sleep’.

A couple of singles preceded this 1989 album. ‘Just Talk’ from 1986 was a minimal, guitar-scaffolded slice of slow-unfolding hypnotic beauty with a hint of quiet menace growing in parallel. 1988’s cover of Canned Heat’s ‘Time Was’ (which also credit Barry Adamson and Rowland S Howard on the sleeve) was not included on the vinyl album, but does appear on all CD versions. ‘Just Talk’ benefits from two memorable visual documents – the promo video itself (YouTube link) lo-fi unusually pub-based choreography and all – and a later ‘live’ recorded performance on the Tony Wilson hosted ‘Other Side of Midnight’ (YouTube link) in 1988, just Gilbert on hypnotic acoustic guitar and Conway singing.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - booklet rear cover design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – booklet rear cover design

The album, when it arrived, was a good deal more synth and drum machine based than those singles had given an impression of. Those soft, mysterious words and vocals still present and correct though. Tracks such as ‘There’s A Scent Of Rain In The Air’, ‘Give Me’, ‘Looks Like’ and ‘To Sleep’ conjure up a dreamier feel – a dream where you’d want to keep one eye open though, cat-like, due to an air that is difficult to put a finger on – ominous, perhaps? Those ‘barely there’ vocals that could as easily flip into something else altogether on a hair-trigger. More identifiably Gilbert guitar stylings to the music are to be found elsewhere, not least on the high-water mark of the driving, relentless title track – stunning stuff – it would be edited down and released as a single in early 1990 (once again with a highly memorable promo video (YouTube link)) and would mark the last release as A.C. Marias.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - disc label design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – disc label design

The bonus tracks found here are welcome and round up the B sides from the album’s three singles, taking in ‘Just Talk’ (Version), which on the single release is titled ‘Just Talk (No Talk)’ to denote its instrumental nature; ‘Something’ is the same track as ‘Some Time’ on the album but in a notably different version; and Lou Reed cover version, ‘Vicious’, would appear on the ‘One Of Our Girls’ single release – no credit here for the musicians, Mute Drivers, though.

A.C.Marias - 'One Of Our Girls' Japanese CD - rear case design

^ A.C.Marias – ‘One Of Our Girls’ Japanese CD – rear case design

Missing from this CD are the single edit of the title track and the 7” edit of ‘Just Talk’. Were it to have included those, it would have collected together all of the Mute-era releases. Probably stretching it a bit far to also include ‘Drop’ and ‘So’ though, but for completeness that would certainly dot the i’s and cross the t’s… It is possible to find ‘Drop’ on the curated compilation album ‘Fame (Jon Savage’s Secret History Of Post-Punk 78-81)’, though do note that it is a needle-drop – the LP commands hefty prices now, but it is available digitally via Qobuz and iTunes, for example. (more…)

A Tourist’s Guide to ‘Life In Tokyo’ – Part 4

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

So, now that the long anticipated super deluxe re-issue of ‘Quiet Life’ and its accompanying supplementary extra ‘Life In Tokyo’ CD EP, has finally been released, time for a final instalment in this series and take stock of what’s new and what’s what.

Japan 'Life In Tokyo' CD EP 2021 front cover

^ Japan ‘Life In Tokyo’ CD EP 2021 front cover


Even more version craziness!

In a maddening example of baffling record company thinking, putting together a whole CD EP that was (seemingly) intended to gather up all official mixes of ‘Life In Tokyo’ into one place manages to come undone from the off by the inclusion only on the ‘A Quieter Life’ CD of the super deluxe box set edition of a newly unearthed version – and leave it off of the CD EP! (more…)

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

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

1989

‘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’

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A Tourist’s Guide to ‘Life In Tokyo’ – Part 2

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

1982

‘Life In Tokyo’ (Remix) (6’15”)
‘Life In Tokyo’ (Special Remix) (4’02”)
‘Life In Tokyo’ (Extended Remix) (7’05”)
‘Life In Tokyo’ (Theme) (3’55”)
‘Life In Tokyo’ (‘Street Scene’ K-Tel compilation LP mix) (2’58”)


‘Life In Tokyo’ (Remix) (6’15”)

This wildly different version of ‘Life In Tokyo’ first saw light of day as the opening track of side two of the ‘Assemblage’ Special Edition Double Play cassette-only re-release in the UK. I think this was released October 1982, based on this advert from Record Mirror magazine, issue dated 30 October 1982. On the cassette’s card inlay it was listed as ‘Special Remix’ (and wrongly listed with a duration of 7’05”), whereas the cassette shell itself listed it just as ‘Remix’.

1982 UK 'Assemblage' Special Edition Double Play cassette box

^ 1982 UK ‘Assemblage’ Special Edition Double Play cassette box – the first release for this mix.

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A Tourist’s Guide to ‘Life In Tokyo’ – Part 1

Sunday, February 7th, 2021

March 2021 will see the latest re-release for Japan’s third album, ‘Quiet Life’, this time in a super deluxe boxed set edition, amongst other remastered formats (single CD, vinyl LP on different weights/colours). That particular deluxe re-issue is set to include a CD of contemporary extras (‘A Quieter Life: Alternative Mixes and Rarities’) which will include the 7″ and 12″ remixes of ‘Life In Tokyo’ made by Steve Nye and released in September 1982 in the UK, as well as ‘Life In Tokyo (Theme Giorgio Moroder Version 1979)’, the exact nature of which is yet to become clear at time of writing.

Various 1979 and 1981 singe releases of 'Life In Tokyo'

^ Various 1979 and 1981 singe releases of ‘Life In Tokyo’

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