21 October 2009

R a i n T r e e C r o w - R a i n T r e e C r o w (1991)

RHalpain's review on RYM (5/5):

"Rain Tree Crow's lone album is a bit of an oddity. This album came a decade after their final album as Japan (the fantastic Tin Drum) and really sounds absolutely nothing like any of their previous work. From my understanding, David Sylvian dominated the recording of the album (including the name change), and stylistically that shows. Not only that, but the band seemed ready to break up once more (which happened shortly after the album's release, I believe).

Given that, it perplexes me how this album is so damn good. I honestly don't know what the ex-Japan bandmates were trying to do with this album. Even after having listened to this quite a few times over the last 2 years, I'm not really sure what the aim of this album was. I'll be damned, however, if it isn't amazing.

The music on Rain Tree Crow generally lingers in a realm of bizarre cinematic tranquility. Songs like "Scratchings on the Bible Belt" are instrument drenched (woodwind instruments as well as banjos and strange flares of guitar penetrate a predominantly organ and percussion driven track) visions of the reality in which Rain Tree Crow seems to operate, while "Blackwater" is simply the most beautifully concise track ever written by this group.

What baffles me about this album is how peaceful it sounds. While the later Japan albums seemed about achieving a certain sound (assuming Tin Drum was the culmination of their experiments), Rain Tree Crow sounds absolutely natural. It's as if they were passing a stream some day and played exactly what they heard; there's a certain rhythm throughout the album that seems to gently and patiently carry the listener along.

Overall, I would put this, along with Tin Drum as Japan's best albums. As a Sylvian fan, I would rank this only behind his Secrets of the Beehive (probably the album that sounds most like what's on Rain Tree Crow, not to mention my favorite album ever) and Snow Borne Sorrow by Nine Horses (which features Sylvian's brother, and former Japan bandmate, drummer Steve Jansen). If you like Talk Talk, I would highly recommend this."

Get it here.


Duncanmusic said...

I take it that it is NOT up yet...or has already been yanked? I hope not. I LOVE this record and agree that it captures the best (besides Tin Drum of the early part of Sylvain's music. I remember being surprised that they even considered doing it as a band again, but I played the disc on my college radio show ( I was a community member NOT a student ,,,almost 25 years out by that time) but to no avail. Whenever I saw it in a store I had no money, then when I had money something else allways took precedence and soon evevn I forgot about this, although I friend of mine ended up playing guitar with Mick Karn at one point. Thanks for posting this. I'll be back to see once again.

wafflecake said...

Hope you get back soon. Link is fixed.

If it's yanked again, well, I can send it to you via email.