This release both excites and concerns me. I love Bauhaus. Along with the Sisters they define the goth sound, and image, for the early 80s. I love Japan, again seminal although this time for the emergence of the New Wave movement. Japan split in 1982 and Bauhaus in 1983 (with both bands at the peak of their influence and popularity) so when, in 1984, Peter Murphy (singer for Bauhaus) and Mick Karn (bass player for Japan) announced they would be forming Dalis Car everyone waited with bated breath.
The result was, err, interesting. Their only LP “the Waking Hour“, comprised a brief seven tracks of art-house, fretless bass-driven art-pop. There are some good bits, but there is also some filler where there was really room for none. It has no edge – disappointing given the potential of the ingredients. The general feeling was that this was a curio, a taster for something better. But nothing else came and we all assumed Dalis Car had come to a natural conclusion.
There was also a shocking series of press photos with a distinctly “casual” theme – too many pastel clothes and a profusion of tank tops – and a long, long way from Bela Lugosi! Ouch… and here’s one of them…
After Mick Karn had been diagnosed with cancer, Peter Murphy suggested getting back together to do a second Dalis Car record. After much delay a release date of 5th April 2012 has been announced, and the EP, entitled “InGladAloneness” is available for pre-order from Burning Shed.
And this is a bigger Dalis Car… Paul Lawford – the original Dalis Car drummer – is still present, albeit playing the congas, and Steve Jansen (the Japan drummer and David Sylvian’s brother) is now behind the kit (the first 250 copies of the EP are signed by Steve Jansen, but these have now sold out). The complete line-up is:
- Peter Murphy – lyrics and vocals, keyboards
- Mick Karn – bass, bass clarinet, additional guitars
- Steve Jansen – Drums
- Jakko M Jakszyk – Nylon Acoustic, Electric Guitars, and Gu Zheng
- Theo Travis – Saxophones and Flute
- Sengul – Additional Vocals on “Subhanallah”
- Gill Morley – Violin
- Ellen Blair – Violin and Viola
- Pete Lockett – Percussion
- Paul Lawford – Congas
- Steve D’Agostino – Additional Keyboards
The track listing is all too brief:
- King Cloud
- Sound Cloud
- If You Go Away
“Artemis” originally appeared on the first Dalis Car EP, but this is an all new version with a new vocal (the original was instrumental). “If You Go Away” is a cover of “Ne Me Quitte Pas” by Jacques Brel.
Mick Karn sadly passed away in January 2010 and this was his final musical venture. And that is what concerns me. It might be average, and that would be no way to honour the fantastic talent. The original LP, in terms of production, was full of clichés (the synth on “His Box” was all over the 80s, and is the main Sisterhood keyboard sound), and now sounds dated. Interesting, but dated.
But I don’t think this will fall into the same trap. The 1991 “Rain Tree Crow” material (essentially Japan – with the same personnel, but David Sylvian refused to release any more material under the name of Japan) is a similar sound to the David Sylvian solo material (also with Steve Jansen playing drums) – with a very open and natural production.
From the blurb:
Conceived during the final months of Karn’s life, the resulting 5 track EP recalls the exotic Eastern-tinged Art Pop sensibility of Dali’s Car’s fondly remembered 1984 album, The Waking Hour, while also possessing an elegiac quality which fittingly evokes the sad circumstances under which the material was written and recorded.
Featuring significant contributions from friends and regular musical collaborators Steve Jansen, Jakko M Jakszyk and Theo Travis, InGladAloneness begins with the life-affirming King Cloud and Sound Cloud. Driven by Karn’s dense and compelling bass and bassoon patterns and Murphy’s singular voice, the songs contain lyrics that emotionally echo Murphy’s response to Karn’s condition and suggest musical directions the project might have pursued had it continued as a creative concern. Along with the inventively multi-layered re-imagining of Artemis (from The Waking Hour), these pieces operate as the rhythmically propelled spiritual storm before the glacial calm of the two closing numbers.
The Arvo Part meets Turkish chant lament of Subhanallah and – prefaced by a mournful Karn instrumental – the deeply personal reading of Jaques Brel’s classic If You Go Away (a favourite song of Karn’s), provide a moving conclusion to a poignant final statement. Both Karn and Dali’s Car distinctively combined the sophisticated and the primitive to produce a challenging music with an instinctive and heartfelt emotional core.
InGladAloneness is a glorious testament to a unique vision tragically cut short by illness.