Experimental rock is a subgenre of rock music which pushes the boundaries of common composition and performance technique or which experiments with the basic elements of the genre. Artists aim to liberate and innovate, with some of the genre's distinguishing characteristics being improvisational performances, avant-garde influences, odd instrumentation, opaque lyrics, unorthodox structures and rhythms, an underlying rejection of commercial aspirations. From its inception, rock music was experimental, but it was not until the late 1960s that rock artists began creating extended and complex compositions through advancements in multitrack recording. In 1967, the genre was as commercially viable as pop music, but by 1970, most of its leading players had incapacitated themselves in some form. In Germany, the krautrock subgenre merged elements of improvisation and psychedelic rock with avant-garde and contemporary classical pieces. In the 1970s, significant musical crossbreeding took place in tandem with the developments of punk and new wave, DIY experimentation, electronic music.
Funk, jazz-rock, fusion rhythms became integrated into experimental rock music. The first wave of 1980s experimental rock groups had few direct precedents for their sound. In the decade, avant-rock pursued a psychedelic aesthetic that differed from the self-consciousness and vigilance of earlier post-punk. During the 1990s, a loose movement known as post-rock became the dominant form of experimental rock; as of the 2010s, the term "experimental rock" has fallen to indiscriminate use, with many modern rock bands being categorized under prefixes such as "post-", "kraut-", "psych-", "noise-". Although experimentation had always existed in rock music, it was not until the late 1960s that new openings were created from the aesthetic intersecting with the social. In 1966, the boundaries between pop music and the avant-garde began to blur as rock albums were conceived and executed as distinct, extended statements. Self-taught rock musicians in the middle and late 1960s drew from the work of composers such as John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luciano Berio.
Academic Bill Martin writes: "in the case of imitative painters, what came out was always derivative, whereas in the case of rock music, the result could be quite original, because assimilation and imitation are integral parts of the language of rock." Martin says that the advancing technology of multitrack recording and mixing boards were more influential to experimental rock than electronic instruments such as the synthesizer, allowing the Beatles and the Beach Boys to become the first crop of non-classically trained musicians to create extended and complex compositions. Drawing from the influence of George Martin, the Beatles' producer, the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson, music producers after the mid 1960s began to view the recording studio as an instrument used to aid the process of composition; when the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds was released to a four-month chart stay in the British top 10, many British groups responded to the album by making more experimental use of recording studio techniques.
In the late 1960s, groups such as the Mothers of Invention, the Velvet Underground, the Fugs, the Beatles, the Jimi Hendrix Experience began incorporating elements such as avant-garde music, sound collage, poetry in their work. Historian David Simonelli writes that, further to the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows", the band's February 1967 double A-side single, pairing "Strawberry Fields Forever" with "Penny Lane", "establish the Beatles as the most avant-garde composers of the postwar era". Aside from the Beatles, author Doyle Greene identifies Frank Zappa, the Velvet Underground, Plastic Ono Band, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, the Soft Machine and Nico as "pioneers of avant-rock". In addition, The Quietus' Ben Graham described duos the Silver Apples and Suicide as antecedents of avant-rock. In the opinion of Stuart Rosenberg, the first "noteworthy" experimental rock group was the Mothers of Invention led by composer Frank Zappa, who professor Kelly Fisher Lowe claims "set the tone" for experimental rock with the way he incorporated "countertextural aspects... calling attention to the recordedness of the album."
This would be reflected in other contemporary experimental rock LPs, such as the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Smile, the Who's The Who Sell Out and Tommy, the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band; the Velvet Underground were a "groundbreaking group in experimental rock", according to Rosenberg, "even further out of step with popular culture than the early recordings of the Mothers of Invention." The band were playing experimental rock in 1965 before other significant countercultural rock scenes had developed, pioneering avant-rock through their integration of minimalist rock and avant-garde ideas. The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper's inspired a new consideration for experimental rock as commercially viable music. Once the group released their December 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour, author Barry Faulk writes, "pop music and experimental rock were synonymous, the Beatles stood at the apex of a progressive movement in musical capitalism"; as progressive rock developed, experimental rock acquired notoriety alongside art rock.
By 1970, most of the musicians, at the forefront of experimental rock had incapacitated themselves. From on, the ideas and work of British artist and former Roxy Music member Brian Eno—which suggested that ideas from the art world, including those of experimental music and the avant-garde, should be deployed in the context of experimental rock—were a key innovation throughout the decade. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Germany's "krautrock"
The Waking Hour
The Waking Hour is the only album by English band Dalis Car, the side project of Peter Murphy of Bauhaus and Mick Karn of Japan. It was released in November 1984 by record label Paradox, created to release the record; the album's cover is the painting Daybreak by Maxfield Parrish. Trouser Press wrote: "As a mellifluous noise, The Waking Hour is fine on the bass. All tracks written except as indicated. Dalis CarMick Karn – songwriting, production, cover design, all other instruments than those listed Peter Murphy – vocals and production Paul Vincent Lawford – percussionAdditional personnelMatt Butler – engineering and mixing Stuart Breed – mixing Steve Churchyard – production and engineering Fin Costello – album photography Rory Lonemore – engineering Maxfield Parrish – cover painting Sheila Rock – album photography The Waking Hour at Discogs
Virgin Records Ltd. is a British record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to be a worldwide phenomenon over time, with the success of platinum performers such as George Michael, Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Roy Orbison, Tangerine Dream, Keith Richards, the Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz, dc Talk, the Smashing Pumpkins, Mike Oldfield and Spice Girls, among others. After its acquisition by Universal Music Group through its purchase of EMI in 2012, UMG absorbed Virgin's British operations to create Virgin EMI Records in March 2013. Today, the operations of Virgin Records America, Inc. the company's North American operations founded in 1986, are still active and headquartered in Hollywood and have operated under the Capitol Music Group imprint owned by UMG, since 2007. The US operations have taken on the name Virgin Records. A minor number of artists remain on Virgin Records America's roster, mostly occupied with European artists such as Bastille, Circa Waves, Corinne Bailey Rae, Ella Eyre, Walking on Cars, Seinabo Sey, Prides.
Branson and Powell had run a small record shop called Virgin Records and Tapes on Notting Hill Gate, specializing in "krautrock" imports, offering bean bags and free vegetarian food for the benefit of customers listening to the music on offer. The first real store was above a shoe shop at the Tottenham Court Road end of Oxford Street. After making the shop into a success, they turned their business into a fledged record label; the name Virgin, according to Branson, arose from Tessa Watts, a colleague of his, when they were brainstorming business ideas. She suggested Virgin – as they were all new to business – like "virgins"; the original Virgin logo was designed by English artist and illustrator Roger Dean: a young naked woman in mirror image with a large long-tailed serpent and the word "Virgin" in Dean's familiar script. A variation on the logo was used for the spin-off Caroline Records label; the first release on the label was the progressive rock album Tubular Bells by multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield, discovered by Tom Newman and brought to Simon Draper – who persuaded Richard and Nik to present it as their first release in 1973, produced by Tom Newman, for which the fledgling label garnered unprecedented acclaim.
This was soon followed by some notable krautrock releases, including electronic breakthrough album Phaedra by Tangerine Dream, The Faust Tapes and Faust IV by Faust. The Faust Tapes album retailed for 49p and as a result allowed this unknown band to reach number 12 in the album charts. Other early albums include Gong's Flying Teapot, which Daevid Allen has been quoted as having never been paid for; the first single release for the label was Kevin Coyne's "Marlene", taken from his album Marjory Razorblade and released in August 1973. Coyne was the second artist signed to the label after Oldfield. Although Virgin was one of the key labels of English and European progressive rock, the 1977 signing of the Sex Pistols reinvented the label as a new-wave outpost, a move that plunged the record company into the mainstream of the punk rock era. Under the guidance of Tessa Watts, Virgin's Head of Publicity, the Pistols rocketed the label to success. Shortly afterwards, the Nottingham record shop was raided by police for having a window display of the Sex Pistols' album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols in the window.
Afterwards they signed other new wave groups: Public Image Ltd, Culture Club, Gillan and the Italians, Human League, Skids, the Motors, the Ruts, Shooting Star, Simple Minds, XTC. After modified versions of the twins label came the red and blue design introduced in 1975, which coincided with the height of punk and new wave; the current Virgin logo was created in 1978, commissioned by Simon Draper managing director of Virgin Records Limited. Brian Cooke of Cooke Key Associates commissioned a graphic designer to produce a stylised signature; the logo was first used on Mike Oldfield's Incantations album in 1978 and by the Virgin Records label until other parts of the Virgin Group adopted it, including Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Money. In 1983 Virgin purchased Charisma Records, renaming it Charisma/Virgin later Virgin/Charisma, before folding the label in 1986 and transferring its remaining artists to Virgin. In the process they acquired comedy group Monty Python; the Charisma label was reactivated in the US in 1990 and enjoyed success with signings such as Maxi Priest, Right Said Fred, 38 Special and Enigma.
When this Charisma label was retired in 1992, all of its artists were, as before, transferred to Virgin. In 1987, Venture Records was created for new age and modern classical artists including Klaus Schulze, associated with Virgin since the early 1970s. 10 Records Immortal Records Delabel Caroline Records was a budget label used from 1973 to 1977. The name and
Oboes belong to the classification of double reed woodwind instruments. Oboes are made of wood, but there are oboes made of synthetic materials; the most common oboe plays in the soprano range. A soprano oboe measures 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column; the distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore A musician who plays the oboe is called an oboist. Today, the oboe is used in concert bands, chamber music, film music, some genres of folk music, as a solo instrument, heard in jazz, rock and popular music. In comparison to other modern woodwind instruments, the treble oboe is sometimes referred to as having a clear and penetrating voice; the Sprightly Companion, an instruction book published by Henry Playford in 1695, describes the oboe as "Majestical and Stately, not much Inferior to the Trumpet."
In the play Angels in America the sound is described as like "that of a duck if the duck were a songbird". The rich timbre is derived from its conical bore; as a result, oboes are easier to hear over other instruments in large ensembles due to its penetrating sound. The highest note is a semitone lower than the nominally highest note of the B♭ clarinet. Since the clarinet has a wider range, the lowest note of the B♭ clarinet is deeper than the lowest note of the oboe. Music for the standard oboe is written in concert pitch, the instrument has a soprano range from B♭3 to G6. Orchestras tune to a concert A played by the first oboe. According to the League of American Orchestras, this is done because the pitch is secure and its penetrating sound makes it ideal for tuning; the pitch of the oboe is affected by the way. The reed has a significant effect on the sound. Variations in cane and other construction materials, the age of the reed, differences in scrape and length all affect the pitch. German and French reeds, for instance, differ in many ways.
Weather conditions such as temperature and humidity affect the pitch. Skilled oboists adjust their embouchure to compensate for these factors. Subtle manipulation of embouchure and air pressure allows the oboist to express timbre and dynamics. Most professional oboists make their reeds to suit their individual needs. By making their reeds, oboists can control factors such as tone color and responsiveness. Novice oboists may begin with a Fibrecane reed, made of a synthetic material. Commercially available cane reeds are available in several degrees of hardness; these reeds, like clarinet and bassoon reeds, are made from Arundo donax. As oboists gain more experience, they may start making their own reeds after the model of their teacher or buying handmade reeds and using special tools including gougers, pre-gougers, guillotines and other tools to make the reed to their liking. According to the late John Mack, former principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra, an oboe student must fill a laundry basket with finished reeds in order to master the art.
"Making good reeds requires years of practice, the amateur is well advised not to embark on making his own reeds... Orchestral musicians sometimes do this, co-principals in particular earn a bit on the side in this way.... Many professional musicians import their reed cane... directly from the growers in southern France and split it vertically into three parts themselves. Oboes require thicknesses of about 10 millimeters." This allows each oboist to adjust the reeds for individual embouchure, oral cavity, oboe angle, air support. The reed is considered the part of oboe playing that makes it so difficult because slight variations in temperature, altitude and climate will change a working reed into an unplayable collection of cane. In English, prior to 1770, the standard instrument was called a "hautbois", "hoboy", or "French hoboy"; the spelling of oboe was adopted into English c. 1770 from the Italian oboè, a transliteration of the 17th-century pronunciation of the French name. The regular oboe first appeared in the mid-17th century.
This name was used for its predecessor, the shawm, from which the basic form of the hautbois was derived. Major differences between the two instruments include the division of the hautbois into three sections, or joints, the elimination of the pirouette, the wooden ledge below the reed which allowed players to rest their lips; the exact date and place of origin of the hautbois are obscure, as are the individuals who were responsible. Circumstantial evidence, such as the statement by the flautist composer Michel de la Barre in his Memoire, points to members of the Philidor and Hotteterre families; the instrument may in fact have had multiple inventors. The hautbois spread throughout Europe, including Great Britain, where it was called "hautboy", "hoboy", "hautboit", "howboye", similar variants of the French name, it was the
T. Rex (band)
T. Rex were an English rock band, formed in 1967 by singer-songwriter and guitarist Marc Bolan; the band was called Tyrannosaurus Rex, released four psychedelic folk albums under this name. In 1969, Bolan began to shift from the band's early acoustic sound to an electric one; the following year, he shortened their name to T. Rex; the 1970 release of the single "Ride a White Swan" marked the culmination of this development, the group soon became a commercial success as part of the emerging glam rock scene. From 1970 until 1973, T. Rex encountered a popularity in the UK comparable to that of the Beatles, with a run of eleven singles in the UK top ten. One of the most prominent acts in British popular culture, they scored four UK number one hits, "Hot Love", "Get It On", "Telegram Sam" and "Metal Guru"; the band's 1971 album. It reached number 1 in the UK; the 1972 follow-up, The Slider, entered the top 20 in the US. Following the release of "20th Century Boy" in 1973, which reached number three in the UK, T.
Rex continued recording one album per year. In 1977, Bolan died in a car crash several months after the release of the band's final studio album Dandy in the Underworld. Since T. Rex have continued to exert a vast influence on a variety of subsequent artists. Marc Bolan founded Tyrannosaurus Rex in July 1967, following a handful of failed solo singles and a brief career as lead guitarist in psych-rock band John's Children. After a solitary disastrous performance as a four-piece electric rock band on 22 July at the Electric Garden in London's Covent Garden alongside drummer Steve Porter plus two older musicians: guitarist Ben Cartland and an unknown bassist, the group broke up. Subsequently, Bolan retained the services of Porter, who switched to percussion under the name Steve Peregrin Took, the two began performing acoustic material as a duo with a repertoire of folk-influenced Bolan-penned songs with an eastern flavour, an obvious homage to Indian musician Ravi Shankar; the combination of Bolan's acoustic guitar and distinctive vocal style with Took's bongos and assorted percussion—which included children's instruments such as the Pixiphone—earned them a devoted following in the thriving hippy underground scene.
BBC Radio One Disc jockey John Peel championed the band early in their recording career. Peel appeared on record with them, reading stories written by Bolan. Another key collaborator was producer Tony Visconti, who went on to produce the band's albums well into their second, glam rock phase. During 1968–1969, Tyrannosaurus Rex had become a modest success on radio and on record, they released three albums, the third of which, came within striking distance of the UK Top 10 Albums. While Bolan's early solo material was rock and roll-influenced pop music, by now he was writing dramatic and baroque songs with lush melodies and surreal lyrics filled with Greek and Persian mythology as well as poetic creations of his own; the band became regulars on Peel Sessions on BBC radio, toured Britain's student union halls. By 1969 there was a rift developing between the two-halves of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Bolan and his girlfriend June Child were living a quiet life, Bolan working on his book of poetry entitled The Warlock of Love and concentrating on his songs and performance skills.
Took, had embraced the anti-commercial, drug-taking ethos of the UK Underground scene centred around Ladbroke Grove. Took was attracted to anarchic elements such as Mick Farren/Deviants and members of the Pink Fairies Rock'n' Roll and Drinking Club. Took began writing his own songs, wanted the duo to perform them, but Bolan disapproved of his bandmate's efforts, rejecting them for the duo's putative fourth album, in production in Spring/Summer 1969. In response to Bolan's rebuff, Took contributed two songs as well as vocals and percussion to Twink's Think Pink album. Bolan's relationship with Took ended after this, although they were contractually obliged to go through with a US tour, doomed before it began. Poorly promoted and planned, the acoustic duo were overshadowed by the loud electric acts they were billed with. To counter this, Took drew from the shock rock style of Iggy Pop. With a belt, y'know, a bit of blood and the whole of Los Angeles shuts up.'What's going on, there's some nutter attacking himself on stage.'
I mean, Iggy Stooge had the same basic approach."As soon as he returned to the UK, Bolan replaced Took with percussionist Mickey Finn. and they completed the fourth album, released in early 1970 as A Beard of Stars, the final album under the Tyrannosaurus Rex moniker. Meanwhile, after helping found the Pink Fairies and appearing on Mick Farren's solo album Mona – The Carnivorous Circus, Took would spend the 1970s working on his own material, either solo or fronting bands such as Shagrat and Steve Took's Horns. Unlike Took, Finn had no songwriting aspirations. Mickey's backing vocals weren't strong, so Marc would double-track them with his own voice for reinforcement"; as well as progressively shorter titles, Tyrannosaurus Rex's albums began to show higher production values, more accessible songwriting from Bolan, experimentation with electric guitars and a true rock sound. A breakthrough had been "King of the Rumbling Spires", which used a full rock band setup, the electric sound had been further explored on A Beard of Stars.
Diana Ross is an American singer and record producer. Born and raised in Detroit, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group the Supremes, during the 1960s, became Motown's most successful act, are the best charting girl group in US history, as well as one of the world's best-selling girl groups of all time; the group released a record-setting twelve number-one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot 100, including "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", "You Can't Hurry Love", "You Keep Me Hangin' On", "Love Child", "Someday We'll Be Together". Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her eponymous debut solo album that same year, featuring the number-one Pop hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", she released the album Touch Me in the Morning in 1973. She continued a successful solo career through the 1970s, which included hit albums like Mahogany and Diana Ross and their number-one hit singles, "Theme from Mahogany" and "Love Hangover", respectively.
Her 1980 album Diana produced another number-one single, "Upside Down", as well as the international hit "I'm Coming Out". Ross' final single with Motown during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final US number-one Pop hit, the duet "Endless Love" featuring Lionel Richie, whose solo career was launched with its success. Ross has ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award and Academy Award-nominated performance for her performance in the film Lady Sings the Blues, she starred in two other feature films and The Wiz acting in the television films Out of Darkness, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Double Platinum. Ross was named the "Female Entertainer of the Century" by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared Ross the most successful female music artist in history, due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts, with a career total of 70 hit singles with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist.
In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as member of the Supremes, alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, she is a 12-time Grammy nominee, never earning a competitive honor, but became the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. In December 2016, Billboard magazine named her the 50th most successful dance artist of all time. In Billboard magazine's Greatest of All Time Hot 100 Artists chart, she ranked 16th as the lead singer of the Supremes and 26th as a solo artist. In December 2018, Diana Ross consolidated her status as a dance diva by ranking #3 in the Billboard Dance Club Songs Artists year-end chart. Diana Ross was born at the Hutzel Women's Hospital in Detroit on March 26, 1944, she was the second eldest child for Ernestine and Fred Ross, Sr.. Ross's older sister is American physician Barbara Ross-Lee. According to Ross, her mother named her "Diane", but, a clerical error resulted in her name being recorded as "Diana" on her birth certificate.
She was listed as "Diane" during the first Supremes records, she introduced herself as "Diane" until early in the group's heyday. Her friends and family still call her "Diane". Ross's grandfather John E. Ross, a native of Gloucester County, was born to Washington Ross and Virginia Baytop. Virginia Baytop's mother Francis "Frankey" Baytop was a former slave who had become a midwife after the Civil War. Ross and her family lived on Belmont Road in the North End section of Detroit, near Highland Park, where her neighbor was Smokey Robinson; when Ross was seven, her mother contracted tuberculosis, causing her to become ill. Ross's father moved with his children to live with relatives in Alabama. After her mother recovered, her family moved back to Detroit. On her 14th birthday in 1958, her family relocated to the working-class Brewster-Douglass Housing Projects settling at St. Antoine Street. Attending Cass Technical High School, a four-year college and preparatory magnet school, in downtown Detroit, Ross began taking classes including clothing design, pattern making, tailoring, as she had aspired to become a fashion designer.
She took modeling and cosmetology classes at the school and participated in three or four other extracurricular activities while there. Ross worked at Hudson's Department Store where it has been claimed in biographies, she was the first black employee "allowed outside the kitchen". For extra income, she provided hairdressing services for her neighbors. Ross graduated from Cass Tech in January 1962. At fifteen, Ross joined the Primettes, a sister group of a male vocal group called the Primes, after being brought to the attention of music manager Milton Jenkins by Primes member Paul Williams. Along with Ross, the other members included Florence Ballard, the first group member hired by Jenkins, Mary Wilson, Betty McGlown. Following a talent competition win in Windsor, Ontario, in 1960, the Primettes were invited to audition for Motown records. Ballard declined the offer, due to unsavory rumors of the unscrupulous business practices of Motown's founder, Berry Gordy. Following local success via live performances at sock hops, etc. Ross approached former neighbor, William "Smokey" Robinson, who insisted that the group a
David Sylvian is an English singer-songwriter and musician who came to prominence in the late 1970s as frontman of the band Japan. The band's androgynous look and electronic sound made them an important influence on the UK's early-1980s New Romantic scene. Following their breakup, Sylvian embarked on a solo career with his debut album Brilliant Trees, his solo work has been described by AllMusic as "far-ranging and esoteric," and has included collaborations with artists such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Robert Fripp, Holger Czukay, Fennesz. The band Japan, whose other members included bassist Mick Karn, guitarist Rob Dean, keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Sylvian's brother Steve Jansen as drummer, began as a group of friends; as youngsters they played music as a means of escape, playing Sylvian's two-chord numbers – sometimes with Karn as the front man, sometimes with Sylvian at the fore. A fan of the New York Dolls, Sylvian adopted his stage name from Sylvain Sylvain, while his brother took Jansen from David Johansen.
They christened themselves Japan in 1974, signed a recording contract with Hansa, became an alternative glam rock outfit in the mould of David Bowie, T. Rex, the New York Dolls. Over a period of a few years their music became more sophisticated, drawing on the art rock stylings of Roxy Music, their visual image evolved and, although they had worn make-up since their creation in the mid-1970s, the band was unintentionally tagged with the New Romantic label in the early 1980s. The band themselves disputed any connection with the New Romantic movement, Sylvian stated: "I don't like to be associated with them; the attitudes are so different." Of Japan's fashion sense, Sylvian said: "For them, fancy dress is a costume. But ours is a way of life. We look and dress this way every day." In an October 1981 interview, at the pinnacle of the New Romantic movement in mainstream pop music, Sylvian commented "There's a period going past at the moment that may make us look as though we're in fashion."Japan released five studio albums between March 1978 and November 1981.
In 1980, the band signed with Virgin Records, where Sylvian remained as a recording artist for the next twenty years. The band suffered from personal and creative clashes between Sylvian and Karn, with tensions springing from Sylvian's relationship with Yuka Fujii, a photographer and designer, Karn's former girlfriend. Fujii became an influential figure in Sylvian's life, she was the first person to introduce Sylvian to jazz, which in turn inspired him to follow musical avenues not otherwise open to him. She encouraged Sylvian to incorporate spiritual discipline into his daily routine. Throughout his solo career, Fujii maintained a large role in the design of artwork for his albums. Japan played their final concerts in December 1982 before dissolving. In 1982, Sylvian released his first solo collaborative effort with Ryuichi Sakamoto, entitled "Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music", he worked with Sakamoto on the UK Top 20 song "Forbidden Colours" for the 1983 Nagisa Oshima film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.
Sakamoto's first contribution to Sylvian's work, was as co-writer of "Taking Islands in Africa" on the Japan album Gentlemen Take Polaroids. Sylvian's debut solo album, Brilliant Trees, included contributions from Sakamoto, trumpeter Jon Hassell and former Can bassist Holger Czukay, it featured the UK Top 20 single "Red Guitar". In 1985, Sylvian released an instrumental EP Words with the Shaman, in collaboration with Jansen and Czukay—a recording that, when re-released the same year as full-length album Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities, included the addition of Sylvian's "Steel Cathedrals", the soundtrack to his video release of the same name; the next release was the two-record set Gone to Earth, which featured one record of atmospheric vocal tracks and a second record consisting of ambient instrumentals. The album contained significant contributions from noted guitarists Bill Nelson and Robert Fripp, a rhythm section comprising Steve Jansen of Japan on drums and Ian Maidman of Penguin Cafe Orchestra on bass.
Secrets of the Beehive made greater use of acoustic instruments and was musically oriented towards sombre, emotive ballads laced with string arrangements by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Brian Gascoigne. The album yielded one of Sylvian's most well-received songs, "Orpheus", was followed by his first live outing as a solo artist, 1988's 80-day world tour "In Praise of Shamans", featuring Robbie Aceto, Richard Barbieri, Mark Isham, Steve Jansen, Ian Maidman and David Torn. Never one to conform to commercial expectations, Sylvian collaborated with Holger Czukay. Plight and Premonition, issued in 1988, Flux and Mutability and released the following year included contributions from Can members Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli. Virgin decided to close out the 1980s with the release of Weatherbox, an elaborate boxed-set compilation consisting of Sylvian's four previous solo albums. In 1990, Sylvian collaborated with artists Russell Mills and Ian Walton on the elaborate multi-media installation using sculpture and light titled Ember Glance – The Permanence of Memory.
The exhibition was staged at the temporary museum'Space FGO-Soko' on Tokyo Bay, Tokyo. In 1990, Sylvian reunited with the former members of Japan for a new project under the name Rain Tree Crow. Unlike their past work, Sylvian decided to use methods of improvisation like those he explored in his work with Holger Czukay. Ingrid Chavez, an artist signed to Prince's Paisley Park Records, sent Sylvian a copy of her first album, he liked what he heard and thought her voic