And finally, Simon, here’s 1999:
- XTC Apple Venus
- To Rococo Rot The Amateur View
- Pet Shop Boys Nightlife
- David Sylvian Dead Bees on a Cake
- Ryuichi Sakamoto BTTB
- Underworld Beaucoup Fish
- Paul Schutze The Gazing Engine
- Sha’cho Mouse Photo-Synthesizer
- Sigur Ros Agaetis Byrjun
- Moby Play
Apple Venus and Dead Bees will always remind me of Fukuoka where I did a homestay for three weeks on moving to Japan in April, and Moby will always remind me of BBC World News.
Live-wise, I saw Roedelius twice, if you count his short but lovely piano sketch at our wedding in January (truly an honour!), and the second time in Tokyo, the day after I arrived. Japan is a bit of a haven for kraut/prog-rock survivors: later in the year I saw Charles Hayward (ex Quiet Sun & This Heat), Keith & Julie Tippett (ex-Centipede), and Michael Rother & Dieter Moebius (ex-Harmonia), all - separately! - at a tiny venue in the western suburbs called Star Pines Café. Another honour was having dinner with Rother & Mobi afterwards.
Other oddities were Rovo and the fabulous DJ Eye (Eye Yamatska of The Boredoms) at the old Liquid Room in Shinjuku – a deathtrap if ever there was one; some laptop doodling by Carl Stone at the dry but occasionally interesting Inter-Communication Centre (says it all really); Christian Marclay, Keiji Haino & Yoshihide Otomo at a big gallery opening; and the very wonderful Huun Huur Tu throat-singers from Mongolia.
On a more conventional note, Liz and I went to Fuji Rock in the Japan Alps, one of the world’s great festivals, not least because of its setting. Music wasn’t bad either: Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Blur, Tricky, Happy Mondays, Joe Strummer, Boredoms, Femi Kuti etc. And we rounded off the year with Pet Shop Boys back in London at Wembley Arena. Oh yes, and in those post-Walkman and pre-iPod days, I was really into mini-discs. Remember them?