The first time this writer encountered Steve Jansen he was the Kabuki-faced drummer for Japan, supplying the sleazed-up backbeat to songs such as Adolescent Sex and Automatic Gun. Japan, of course, quickly eschewed their glam image, morphing into something much more artsy and mysterious. This lavish repackaging of Jansen’s 2007 solo album expands on that tradition exponentially.
A three disc digi-book, this comprises the original Slope plus remixes; The Occurrence Of Slope, recorded live in Japan; and a selection of his film soundtrack work. It’s a rich, absorbing often challenging listen as Jansen, by his own admission, pieces together “unrelated sounds, music samples, rhythms and ‘events’ in an attempt to deviate from my own trappings as a musician”.
On the sparse, stuttering blues of Ballad Of A Deadman Jansen’s brother and long-time collaborator David Sylvian trades vocals with Joan Wasser (Joan As Police Woman); Cancelled Pieces features a sultry performance from avant-pop singer Anja Garbarek and Conversation Over is a mesmerising if morbid instrumental.
Slope took five years to make, and you may well need that long to appreciate its beautiful, nuanced depth.