January 4, 2011 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Mick Karn, bass player for Japan, Dali's Car and Gary Numan is dead at 52.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar (34 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by davebush at 3:25 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by Threeway Handshake at 3:32 PM on January 4, 2011

Oh, that sucks. Really interesting guy and an incredibly distinctive sound; Gentlemen Take Polaroids is probably my favorite thing he played on, even more than Dalis Car. I hadn't realized that he'd also worked with Gary Numan and Kate Bush.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:32 PM on January 4, 2011

He wasn't in a duel with Gerry Rafferty was he?
posted by punkfloyd at 3:35 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

So sorry to hear this. Mick Karn was one incredible person. listen to Sons of Pioneers from Japan's Tin Drum album to get an idea of his amazing bass style. A Truly Sad day for music.
posted by svenvog at 3:37 PM on January 4, 2011

Loved his work with Yoshihiro Hanno on Liquid Glass; it's from 1998, but sounds amazing and fresh.

I'm going to listen to this now.

posted by VikingSword at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2011

The Adolescent Sex album is great, too, not necessarily for its own merits but because you can really hear Mick and David mucking around and not quite settling into what Japan would eventually sound like. It's raw, but in a good way.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:40 PM on January 4, 2011

Here he is, to the left of Kate, with his distinctive makeup.
posted by adipocere at 3:45 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by snsranch at 3:54 PM on January 4, 2011

I've been a fan since about 1980, my first real longstanding favourite musician. I met my two closest friends because we all liked his music. I can't even imagine how much I will miss him.
posted by biscotti at 3:56 PM on January 4, 2011

For a second I read that as Gary Numan being dead too! It was like Death was using my high school album collection as a check list today.

posted by helmutdog at 3:58 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're unfamiliar with Japan, seek out the "Rain Tree Crow" album (it was a Japan reunion album using a different name). It's some wonderfully evocative, mysterious music.
posted by davebush at 4:02 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

no!!! this is so sad :(
one of the great bass players of the age is gone...
posted by supermedusa at 4:07 PM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Sad and early end. Rest in Peace.

He was supposedly working on the second Dalis' Car album in November but I never heard if that actually happened.
posted by juiceCake at 4:08 PM on January 4, 2011

Damn. Not a good start to the year.

posted by Sailormom at 4:09 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by ktrey at 4:18 PM on January 4, 2011

I was really looking forward to that second Dali's Car record. I wonder if anything got done--if they worked on it like the first one (mailing tapes back and forth) there probably isn't anything completed.

posted by padraigin at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2011

Come and lead me through the darkness.

posted by vers at 4:29 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by Smart Dalek at 4:54 PM on January 4, 2011

Seeing (or more accurately hearing him ) on The Old Grey Whistle Test with Angie Bowie made me see Japan in a new light. I became a big fan of his.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:59 PM on January 4, 2011

Mick Karn's slippery plunk & burble impelled me to acquire an electric fret-less bass & Boss CE-2 chorus pedal years ago. That 80's style of bass-playing has since gone out of fashion, but I predict a big comeback.

Suburban Love, live in Japan, 1979.
posted by ovvl at 5:11 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 6:01 PM on January 4, 2011

I'm another guy who picked up fretless bass primarily because of Mick Karn's playing in Japan, even though Japan was broken up and that style of music in the grave before I ever listened to my first Japan album. Those sinuous, silky fat lines weaving through the music were pure fucking genius, clever and sly but still serving the songs and in the pocket. He was everything a bass player could aspire to be.

Listen to what he does in Swing. I mean, it's. I just, FRBLDKRBL how did he do something that sexy with wood and wire
posted by fleetmouse at 6:08 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by lapolla at 8:36 PM on January 4, 2011

posted by peterkins at 5:33 AM on January 5, 2011

posted by Ahab at 6:32 AM on January 5, 2011

That one came out of nowhere. Christ. All these people around my age, dying. It makes me twitchy.
posted by Decani at 7:08 AM on January 5, 2011

I wish there were more posts in this thread. I loved Japan and Dali's Car. I had all of Japan's albums and most of their imports. They were so, so good.
posted by staggering termagant at 7:36 AM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just heard about it today, but figured there would be a post here...

Other moments worth noting:

Dali's Car - "The Judgment is the Mirror"

Gary Numan - "She's Got Claws"

Kate Bush - "Heads We're Dancing"

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Michael Brooks - "Intoxicated"
posted by markkraft at 8:44 AM on January 5, 2011

That man played the bass guitar like a lead instrument.
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 10:51 AM on January 5, 2011

(in a good way, that is)
posted by Jon-A-Thon at 10:52 AM on January 5, 2011

He played on an album with David Torn and Terry Bozzio that for a long time I dismissed (uncharacteristically) as wankery. But it's actually really good. And Oil on Canvas is great.
posted by kenko at 12:48 PM on January 5, 2011

Wow, what a tremendous loss...I'm truly stunned to read this. Mick Karn was one of my musical heroes.
posted by malocchio at 1:31 PM on January 5, 2011


So much good stuff - but his contribution to Numan's Dance is just amazing...
posted by monkey closet at 3:19 AM on January 7, 2011

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