Japan: A Foreign Place, by Anthony Reynolds

japfinA Foreign Place is a comprehensive biography of the influential band Japan by musician and author, Anthony Reynolds.

Chronicling the rise and fall of one of the 1980s most respected and beloved bands, Anthony’s intimate book lifts the veil on the creative processes and personal histories of a fascinating group of introspective musicians whose activities have frequently been shrouded in secrecy.

Previously responsible for well-received books on The Walker Brothers and Leonard Cohen, here Anthony engagingly details the strange twists and turns that saw a group of friends from working class South London develop from unpromising provincial Glam Funk origins to eventually become the authors of the innovative and exotic sonic assault of the globally successful Tin Drum.

Written with the full approval and co-operation of Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen and Rob Dean, the book contains many unseen period photographs, as well as first-hand accounts of the band and its music from friends, music industry associates and musical collaborators.

Here’s an interview with Anthony at Davidsylvian.net

The first publishing venture for Burning Shed, the UK edition of A Foreign Place is presented as a limited edition deluxe hardback edition designed by Carl Glover.

Here’s a review from Goldmine:

Of all the bands swept up in the so-called New Romantic movement of the early 1980s, Japan were always among the most inappropriate. Five years earlier and they’d have been riding the darker side of the glam movement, allied with Bowie, the Doctors of Madness, Be Bop Deluxe and Roxy Music; and even in their own time, they had more in common with the likes of Peter Gabriel, Eno and Robert Fripp than they ever did with the chart-topping concoctions of the funny haircut brigade.

But a few hits and a glamorous image were hard to argue with, even when you delved deep into their albums and became lost inside the convolutedly art-infused experimentalism that was their natural state of being. Nevertheless, Reynolds handles the contradictions well as the story tracks Japan from the alternative obscurities of their earliest guise (those first Ariola albums remain deathless classics) through the years of high conceit and ambition, onto the band’s somewhat sorrowful demise.

Punctuated throughout by band members and associates, and written with an enthusiasm that never flags, A Foreign Place is not simply a vivid document of a vibrant band. It is also a window into one of the most formative quarters of all that modern prog aspires to.

And another from Classic Pop:

Classic Pop_Japan review