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Mick Karn

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by gruffpuppy, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. Well seeing that his is the new face to look at I was wondering how many fans Mick has a TB.

    I love his playing on Dali's Car and Japan's Tin Drum.
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I've only heard Mick Karn on a Kate Bush and on a David Torn album. He definitely has his own sound. I understand Japan's live album, Oil on Canvas, is the best sample of his playing.

    Will C.:cool:
  3. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    Mick's playing with David Torn is stellar. My favorite track is probably "Thundergirl Mutation" which features guttural, growling slabs of distorted sub-bass. Mick's approach is definitely more concerned with conveying moods and evoking feelings than whacking you over the head with empty technical displays-quite refreshing.
  4. bass_giant


    Jul 31, 2000
    Hong Kong
    Mick has just finished a few songs with a HongKong musician, he call 'Paul Wong' it released an album already...

    This is the first time i listen mick playing , he is awesome at fretless !! it just sound like u put a snake on your fretless bass !!
  5. I like his playing with Japan a lot- eg. the lines on "In Vogue", "Quiet Life", "Halloween".

    I've got his solo album "The Tooth Mother", but I don't really like it- all the odd time signatures and weird melodies are heavy going IMHO.
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I must say that I was a big fan of his when he was in Japan and bought a fretless bass in about 1985 just to get the same sound. What I do remember at the time was that a lot of people were very interested in his technique, but when he did interviews in Musicians' magazines he always said that he was really surprised to be asked as he didn't really know what he was doing.

    He talked about the recording process in Japan and how he would come up with a bassline and as most of the tunes were written by David Sylvain he would get to put his part on last, but it was always out of tune or time with the other instruments. But the other members of the group liked his sound and ideas so much that they would go back and re-record all their parts to fit in with what he had played. So they would transpose all the keyboard parts for example, to fit with the bassline!

    I also remember him saying that a large part of his "sound" was down to discovering Wal basses by accident. Of course - all of this could just be down to a self-effacing or modest character and I'm sure he wouldn't have lasted this long (over 20 years) in music without a fair amount of talent.
  7. Deynn

    Deynn Moderator Emeritus

    Aug 9, 2000
    I was very happy to see Mick Karn as a featured bassist here on TB. I have admired his playing for years. He has also had a large influence on my own musical direction, as well as my personal life.
    He definitely has a unique voice in music and it is nice to see him get some well deserving acclaim.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I didn't realise that Mick Karn was a "featured artist" until I read Deynn's comments (my link to TB is set up to go straight into the forums) - I've just been off to read the interview! Thanks Deynn!

    Very interesting, especially the part about big record labels in the UK which is exactly my experience as well:

    "TB: What led you to go away from major labels and get with your own label/management company, Medium Productions?

    MK: The manipulation, blackmail, insecurity, and ultimately, their ownership of all compositions makes dealing with major record labels a complete nightmare. Medium Productions was already in existence for 2 years before I was able, contractually, to record as a solo artist. That, in and of itself, should answer the question as to what led me away from major labels."

    I sort of "gave up" music for a while in the early 90s after becoming disillusioned by the system that Mick describes, having been in a band signed to EMI in the 80s.

    I determined to do everything myself - write, play, produce etc. I never got as much success as Mick though - although I got some compositions on mgazine CDs - I think the odds are stacked against you if you go "independent" but after being treated badly by the majors you just want to avoid this experience ever again.
  9. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I had a solo album and lost it as you do. I also like the Japan version of Second That Emotion and there was a Bill Nelson album with some Mick Karn fretless on it (lent it to someone who didnt return it).

    To digress...

    Bruce you and I often disagree but I am currently doing everything myself for similar reasons.
  10. i am a big fan of mick karn..the tooth mother is a wonderful album imo..from tone to composition and general feeling and texture..i really dig the fact that he just keeps it low key and does his own thing..not to mention that i read in bass player that he hadn't changed his strings for years!!! that's a man i can get behind....
  11. tripwamsley


    Jan 31, 2002
    Sulphur La,
    I absolutely love Karn's work. Some days I just can't get enough! Glad to see this thread!:D
  12. jerry

    jerry Doesn't know BDO Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 13, 1999
    One of my favorite "thinking outside the box" players! Mick shows that you can play fretless and sound nothing like Jaco......I've been a fan since I heard the Live Japan album almost twenty years ago
  13. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    The "Polytown" CD is a good one that I'd recommend.
  14. I've been downloading some Dalis Car tracks-
    Pete Murphy's voice is a great addition to Karn's doubletracked basslines- whereas Karn's solo material seems lacking.

    in a way Dalis car sounds like a more sophisticated version of Bauhaus- as David J used fretless (but much less busily than Karn).

    I'll have to search out this album.
  15. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    I like just about everything I've heard.
    I was just wondering what Mick is up to now, and up pops this thread to encourage me to find out.

    I searched for years for that Dalis Car release. Hope you find it quicker than that. Let me know if you don't...
    all my friends say it sounds like videogame music. Guess they're not Linndrum fans.
  16. Me, too! I've heard only good things about it, and Peter Murphy is one of my fave singers.

    And to Mick Karn: I like his playing on Gary Numan's "Subway I Call You" (with Queen's Roger Taylor on the drums also). I don't know many Japan songs (six or seven), but I'm sure this band was one of Duran Duran's influences. Their Nick Rhodes even looks like David Sylvian on the "Quiet Life" album cover (see attachment) ;)

    I once read in an interview, that Mick Karn believes there are spirits around him guiding his fingers when playing, but he'd rather not talk about it as it's a very personal thing.

    ...oh and I still remember Japan's pics in teenie magazines of the late '70s - Mick Karn with ketchup red hair and stuff :D
  17. I found no sign of it today in HMV, Virgin Megastore, Selectadisc, Sister Ray, Mister CD or Tower Records.

    hmm, I'll have to live with downloads for now.

    ps. a heads up for any London TB'ers interested in checking out the Armoury Show album (John McGeoch, Richard Jobson, Russell Webb & John Doyle- ex-members of The Skids & Magazine)-

    it's going for £5 in the basement of Mister CD in Berwick street.(lots of bargains there if you've got the patience to search through all the stuff).
  18. yep- when I first heard Japan's "quiet life" I thought it was Duran Duran:D

    TOTP2 showed Japan miming that track-
    Mick Karn's odd jerky movements reminded me of Devo.
  19. Arjan


    Apr 18, 2002
    I must say that I really dig Karn because he's the only person who REALLY doens't make the fretless sound like Jaco. A true original voice like bassplayer magazine said before.

    I have two of his solo albums, Beastial Cluster and Tooth Mother. Both have some real bizarre out of this world basslines. Thundergirl mutation (someone mentioned that before) is a true masterpiece! I do play that on my fretless 6 sometimes when I'm in a trippy mood.:bassist:

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