Desperately Skanking Susan

As Mr. Tom has been flirting with some spiky dreads of the major label variety recently I thought I’d chuck in my two pennies worth, albeit with a somewhat lesser-known entry in the corporate catalogue.

I find that it’s rarely a bad idea to cast one’s eyes to Japan for music of just about any kind, and having recently rediscovered the mellifluous J-pop of Susan on Epic’s Music from the Rising Sun sampler, I was surprised to find a previously overlooked morsel of J-reggae lurking on its b-side.

Beginning with a few atonal growls before striking up a Romani-style march, Nuit de Saint Germain’s piquant blend of ethereal synths and clashing syndrums suggests an encounter between Sly & Robbie-era Grace Jones and 80s Banshees with Susan’s sultry vocal weaving it all together.

Being of French and Japanese descent, Susan would often switch between the two languages in song – a tactic she employs to beguilingly coquettish effect on Nuit de Saint Germain – and there is a distinctly Parisian flavour snaking through her cocktail of electro reggae and Eastern pop.

The track was penned by whizz kid musician Kazuhiko Kato (who could often be found twanging surf guitar with The Ventures) and the revered songwriter and essayist Kazumi Yasui, neither of whom, sadly, are still with us, so for now let us toast their memory by riding the wave of this sophisticated skanker:

(Dread Zed)

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