Michael Stack | North Chelmsford, MA USA | 04/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters" is lauded by Japan fans as perhaps the best of Karn's work-- while this may well largely be because of the presence of Japan frontman David Sylvian on two tracks (Japan drummer Steve Jansen contributes throughout), this is not altogether far from accurate. Certainly, its the most consistent of Karn's albums and amongst the best work he's done. One of the things that separates this record from his early work outside of Japan is that Karn is now working at expressing himself as a composer as much as a bassist-- yeah, there's some jaw dropping bass playing on here, but that largely is less important than style and mood, and this album has loads of both.
The pieces with Sylvian are actually quite similar in sound and tempo. "Buoy" is a great pop song, with effective lyrics and vocals from Sylvian over a detailed arrangement and watery bass playing from Karn and typically brilliant but understated drumming from Jansen. "When Love Walks In" falls a little shorter, its so similar in feel that comparisons are inevitable.
The remainder of the album is primarily mood pieces-- haunting and darkness is a pretty common thread on this one, with the opener ("First Impressions", featuring a loping bass and fantastic horn arrangement) and two closing tracks (the dark and relentless "Dreams of Reason" and the boy-choir over organ of "Answer") firmly establishing a nightmare vision. But its the most delicate, hopeful, and subtle of the tracks, "Language of Ritual" that is the real gem here. Totally devoid of any bass playing, this one features beautiful reed playing (first delicate clarinet and evidentually a wailing alto sax) over tribal drumming and simple piano lines, its effecting, inspiring, and brilliant. The remainder of the album is decent enough, but not extraordinary-- two mood instrumentals that don't stand out much on their own.
Its got its shortcomings, and it may be better for Sylvian fans than Karn fans, but overall this is a rewarding album and well worth a listen."
Mick & Dave Settle Their Differences
Stefan C. Attrill | Northampton, UK | 01/22/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first experienced Mick Karn's bass playing when I saw him play in London in 1978 with Japan. The bass has improved much since 78' with a richer tone & "individual style". He has matured his bass in comparison with his first solo album "Titles" and this album has a less structured composition which allows you to get engrossed in the tracks with plenty of surprises. It is great to see David Sylvian supports two great vocals, "Buoy" & "When love walks in". My only critisism is that the recording quality is a bit "Quiet" - Maybe we will see this re-released one day as a remastered copy. In all a good album and a "must" for any Sylvian/Japan fans"
Dark, Sinister, But So Much Fun
Scott Boepple (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Los Angeles, California | 04/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's like sucking on a sour candy; when you get to the middle, it's sweet (aaawwwwh). But seriously, if you enjoy Mick Karn, than this album is definitely a collectors item, if only for the fact that it reunites David Sylvian and Mick. Guests feature Steve Jansen and Richard Barbierri (all four members of Japan, and you're not going to find that again until Rain Tree Crow), so be prepared to get all hyped up on goofballs kids, cuz...well, just cuz."
Thomas Szirmay | Montreal, QC Canada | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I finally replaced my used and abused vinyl copy of this absolutely amazing recording that I consider a mainstay of my collection of progressive rock. This is a unique set , much more satisfying than any other Karn album , in fact even better than any of his Japan output. Warm , gushing melodies laced with a spiritual flavour, propelled by his by now legendary reptilian bass, this album just flows from one peak to another, superbly dosed & constantly on edge . I was thrilled to get it so fast from Amazon as this was my first purchase (including Falco (3), The Beloved (Happy) and Manzanera (K-Scope) Glad to see that hard to find Cds are constantly and rapidly available and in A-ONE condition."