Mick Karn first studied wood and wind instruments such as bassoon and clarinet. However, it is his highly distinctive fretless bass voice for which he is most renowned, an accolade placing him next to Jaco Pastorius.
According to Karn, bass went unnoticed and his mission was to get it noticed. Even on early Japan recordings, his wiggly bass can be heard. By their swan song, Tin Drum in 1981, he was dubbed one of the best bass players in the world. He'd already supplied bass and sax work to Gary Numan's Dance album and was the first Japan member with a solo record -- Titles.
In 1983, Japan's live album, Oil on Canvas, brought his playing to new ears: jazz legend Jan Garberek. The following year brought an unlikely collaboration with Peter Murphy of Bauhaus. The Waking Hour became Dalis Car's only album and soon Karn was again a solo agent teaming up with close friend Steve Jansen to produce Dreams of Reason Produce Monsters.