Hi Steve, In Paul Rymer’s piece on Victoria’s JansenPhotographyBlog on Akiko Yano’s “Ai Ga Nakucha Ne” album, he speculates that although ‘Steve’s drumming is unmistakable. Somehow though, despite being there, Mick doesn’t sound like his usual self, and is lower in the mix than you would expect. Perhaps this is because Mick’s suggested bass lines didn’t meet with Sakamoto’s approval?’ May I ask what your recollection is? Thank you. Emma

Akiko’s music didn’t really facilitate anything too unconventional from the rhythm section so neither Mick nor I were being asked to work on the album to capture the essence of what we did together within our own band. Akiko usually incorporates a lot of chord changes and perhaps this restricted Mick’s more fluid style. Also, most bands don’t require the bass to be making a statement, they prefer that it’s sitting sensibly with the drums and defining the root notes, but as we know that wasn’t really Mick’s style. In JAPAN’s music the bass melodies were given the space they required and arrangements were integrated around them so the bass could be free to feature quite predominantly in the mixes, since they demanded to stand out in a similar way that a lead guitar riff might. The construction of Akiko’s music wasn’t really geared up for that (from what I can recall) therefore perhaps the combination of this, along with the fact that Mick was restricted by chord structures, meant that his performance is more subdued. Those familiar with JAPAN’s music would be used to Mick’s bass being much more audible whereas on “Ai Ga Nakucha Ne” it’s probably mixed at a more typical level. But the sessions went okay and the project was viewed as a bit of an adventure for all concerned.

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