Japan / Quiet Life unboxed

Out today is the box set edition of Japan‘s 1979/1980 album Quiet Life. This features three CDs and a half-speed mastered 180g black vinyl LP. Watch the SDEtv unboxing video, below…

Quiet Life is out now. Read the SDE interview with Steve Jansen and Robert Dean.


Quiet Life Japan / super deluxe edition

    • 2020 remaster
      1. Quiet Life (2020 Remaster)
      2. Fall In Love With Me (2020 Remaster)
      3. Despair (2020 Remaster)
      4. In Vogue (2020 Remaster)
      5. Halloween (2020 Remaster)
      6. All Tomorrows Parties (2020 Remaster)
      7. Alien (2020 Remaster)
      8. The Other Side of Life (2020 Remaster)

SDE Release Life Cycle


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Keith Hill

Limited amount on Amazon at £26, £10 p+p but I can live with that.


THis is now 24.99+9.99 on amazon UK

Ron van Rossum

Perhaps I’m the only one but the mastering of the album (black vinyl/red vinyl) is not great. The quality of the cd is superior above the vinyl. Which is quit odd. The red vinyl is of poor quality…
And why not mastering it at 45 rpm? I’m missing the Quiet Life remix (extended mix?).
For me this one of the greatest albums ever. No doubt!!


High in the charts: 13. Plus 2 and 3 in the Vinyl and Physical Sales Charts. At last…..


I received my Quiet Life SDE box in the US today. I ordered it from the band’s website and was surprised to see that it was shipped from New Jersey. I was even more surprised to hear a loose CD rattling around inside the box. When I opened it up, I found that the 3rd CD was never inserted into its slot in the folder that holds the CDs. The perforations for that slot had never even been broken. Pretty poor packaging effort, especially considering how much I was charged for this item. The CD is scratched a lot more than you would expect when buying a new/sealed item. I guess the silver lining is that it’s the live CD that is apparently not worth listening to.

Neil Parnell

Think Live from the Budokahn toilets would have been a better title for the live cd…woeful


Enjoying this boxset – the album is growing on me (more of a fan of the next 2 albums) and the LP/CDs 1&2 are great quality. The booklet is a little light, would have liked some kind of song synopsis or even the lyrics but the photos and glossy feel of the box in general are pleasing. As many have mentioned the Budokan show is a disappointment – decent quality for a bootleg but this should have been highlighted in the promo and not snuck in as an “artefact” in the small print. I remember when I got the Vienna boxset it was highlighted that one of the CDs were “cassette recordings” and thinking they’d be unlistenable but they were surprisingly rather excellent. Must add I got this for £30 via Amazon Italy so not complaining – would I have got it at full price? Not sure.

Kevin O.

Forgot to mention earlier, since I’d wondered about it before hearing the entire set:

The version of Life in Tokyo labelled as “‘Assemblage’ 7″ Remix 1982”, running 4:02, is actually the version found on the 1989 compilation Souvenir From Japan. The version that appeared on Assemblage runs 3:30.


But what’s the “Theme Giorgio Moroder Version 1979”? Is it another repitched/respeeded Steve Nye Theme or what?

Dean F

I can’t work out where that Giorgio Moroder version came from (unique to this release maybe?). The nerd in me was curious as to how much of A Quieter Life I have on CD so I looked up the tracks using Discogas and the excellent nightporter.co.uk website. The listing below is not comprehensive and doesn’t include vinyl releases unless a track is unique to vinyl so please don’t shoot me if there’s the odd mistake :)

1. European Son (Steve Nye 7” Remix 1982) 3:50
Japanese The Singles 2CD
2. Life In Tokyo (Steve Nye 7” Special Remix 1982) 4:03
Remastered Assemblage CD
The Very Best of Japan
2021 EP
3. Quiet Life (Original German 7” Mix 1980) 3:53
Remastered Quiet Life album (2006)
The Very Best of Japan
4. I Second That Emotion (Steve Nye 7” Remix 1982) 3:56
Japanese The Singles 2CD?
5. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Steve Nye 7” Remix Version 1983) 3:35
Remastered Quiet Life CD 2006
The Very Best of Japan
Japanese The Singles 2CD
6. European Son (John Punter 12” Mix 1980) 5:01
Japanese The Singles 2CD
Remastered Assemblage CD
7. Life In Tokyo (Steve Nye 12” Special Remix Version 1982) 7:06
Quiet Life (2001 Camden CD)
2021 EP
Japanese The Singles 2CD
8. I Second That Emotion (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1982) 5:17
Remastered Assemblage CD?
9. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1983) 5:17
Japanese The Singles 2CD
Quiet Life (2001 Camden CD)
Remastered Quiet Life CD 2006
The Collection
10. European Son (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1982) 5:35
Japanese The Singles 2CD
11. Quiet Life (Japanese 7” Mix 1980) 4:14
The Singles (Japanese mini LP)
12. A Foreign Place 3:16
Quiet Life (2001 Camden CD)
Remastered Quiet Life CD 2006
Japanese The Singles 2CD
13. All Tomorrow’s Parties (John Punter 7” Mix 1979) 4:1
The Collection
14. Life In Tokyo (Theme Giorgio Moroder Version 1979) 2:03

Dean F

Forgot the live tracks, they’re all on the 2006 CD of Obscure Alternatives.

David R

Japan’s official YouTube channel posted this Giorgio Moroder version of the song on March 5th.
Confusingly, the mix name (assuming it’s the same as the Steve Nye theme) suggests that it is at the correct pitch, but it is still too slow. It seems that this version was made by playing a 45RPM at 78 RPM, which, while closer to the “normal” speed, is still about 15% too slow. Luckily, the speed can be changed on YouTube by going to the Settings icon, choosing “Playback speed” and then “Custom”. and changing it to 1.15 or thereabouts. There, much better!
I still wonder:
1. If, on the original release, the speed was too slow due to a mistake, or an artistic decision.
2. If, on this re-release, the speed was too slow due to a mistake, or an artistic decision.


It seems odd that it’s marked as anything to do with the 1979 Moroder version of the song – that didn’t have much of Karn’s bass on it (if any?) whereas this has the new bassline from the 1982 remix.

I would hope the original slow version was intentional as I’ve always loved it like that. Quite why this time we have a “correct pitch” version on the standalone Life In Tokyo disc and this slightly slower version on the Quieter Life disc we’ll probably never know.

Kevin O

Amazed that the playing time of the “Quieter Life” CD is, what, 80:48?! Easily the longest playing time of any CD I own. I’m amazed my Bose CD player could handle it.

Kevin O

My order from Townsend arrived today (8 March, US West Coast). Since I’d already ordered the box set when I learned about the Life in Tokyo EP, I ordered the red vinyl + Life in Tokyo bundle from them.

Haven’t opened the vinyl yet, but no problems so far.

Based on a comparison of the original 12″ of Life in Tokyo on the new EP vs the 2001 Quiet Life CD reissue, it is a bit louder—but they haven’t brickwalled it, at least. The waveforms look pretty similar, with the new master being a bit thicker in the middle—just from listening, it’s clear that they’ve given the low end a boost.

Granted, I’m 58 and really don’t hear jack above 10–12 kHz (I could hear the 15 kHz tone on Sgt Pepper in 1987, but not now), but I seriously doubt the Life in Tokyo EP was mastered from MP3s. I opened the original 12″ mix in Audition (for the comparison above), and the spectral frequency display appears to show the full range of frequencies present. With MP3s, you’d expect to see a dropoff at the high end.

Since the extended-length cassette of Assemblage was mentioned: The b-side of that cassette was the version of the album released on LP in Japan.

Whatever one thinks of the contents of the Quiet Life box, the simple fact remains that Virgin/EMI/Universal and Hansa/BMG/Sony have largely not seen Japan as deserving of the deluxe edition treatment. Consider:

• There have been several compilations of varying quality of the Hansa-era material.
• When EMI were releasing remastered editions of albums in 1997, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love was reissued on CD with several extra tracks and a booklet of photos, and packaged in a slipcover. Tin Drum was reissued on vinyl.
• The band’s three Virgin albums were briefly sold as a set, but without any real special features (the halftone picture labels on the CDs don’t count).
• The 2003 remastered Virgin albums were a step up in the treatment of the band’s material, with the inclusion of some single tracks, but not even the 2-disc edition of Tin Drum quite reached the level of a deluxe edition.
• To be fair, Universal did reissue Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum as half-speed remastered LPs, but that’s not the same as a deluxe edition with extra tracks.
• The Music On Vinyl reissue of Quiet Life was on vinyl.
• As Jansen and Sylvian have noted in the past, things like multi-track tapes and original album artwork have either been damaged or gone missing over the years (particularly as catalogues get transferred from one label to another), so Japan clearly aren’t a priority most of the time.

The only true CD box set to see release before now was the Prophetique box released in Japan in 1993. Still, despite the lovely artwork, it included no extra material—only the three Hansa albums plus the four non-album tracks included on Assemblage.

So it seems likely that this edition of Quiet Life is the best we’re going to get. I am still surprised that they didn’t (or couldn’t) use the source tapes from the Budokan show instead of cleaning up an audience bootleg—but I’ve paid for worse-sounding bootlegs than this, so I don’t really have any complaints about that particular choice.

It might have been interesting to hear versions of The Other Side of Life and In Vogue before they added the orchestra.

A note of intrigue: the Official Charts folks report that the reissued Quiet Life is currently at #3 in the UK charts, the highest peak for that album. They add that the original album peaked at #53 in 1982… (https://www.officialcharts.com/chart-news/kings-of-leon-roaring-to-sixth-number-1-on-the-official-albums-chart-with-when-you-see-yourself__32625/)


As far as mp3 mastering goes, Spek shows quite clearly that there is a sharp cut off of the high end frequencies on the Life In Tokyo EP on the Steve Nye Theme – I see nothing above 17kHz. I’m no expert so I’m not going to make any claims about the other versions.

David Harold

Having been initially disappointed with the live disk I just listened again and my gosh if it isn’t even worse. I’m so irritated at the thought of what could have been. I got it cheap from Amazon.it so I can live with the box as I was def going to get the vinyl anyway and the second CD is nice. But the astonishing thing is that there is a cleaned up version of the Japan gig easily found on the internet (or there was, it might have been pulled now there’s an official release) which sounds way better than the version they included. Shoddy is being generous about the decision to include it and the inability or lack of will to clean it up.

Woodsey Niles

This sound quality issue is very troubling since I’m in Chicago and paid about $35 USD too much from Burning Shed and haven’t even received it yet. Unfortunately, due to the excessive taxation, this is the last time I will buy anything like this from an overseas source. Nothing is a bargain at twice the price.


Thanks, I’ll just stick with my old vinyl copy. Not overly enthused by the reviews. I don’t actually own any Japan CDs just old vinyl which I’ve converted to mp3s. They sound fine to me. There was a massive effort by Hansa back in the day to cash in on the band’s success with Virgin, seems nothings changed.



In Koen’s case i’d say either the Dutch or the Belgian state / postal service / customs…

I assume you’re in the UK and can order from abroad up to 135 GBP but if one is in the EU and buys from the UK only up to 22 EUR per order won’t cost additional fees unless you’re lucky and customs misses the package.


The vinyl redeems this box set – it sounds lovely and warm. When you turn it up it ‘opens like a flower’ revealing more detail than you get on the loud CDs. Very impressed – and I didn’t want the vinyl at first! It sounds better than the 41 year old original Hansa label copy (which is more lightweight).
Sadly the new LP cover is very bright and ‘burns out’ the original atmospherically filtered images which is a bit of a shame. More detail is not always progress.
The CDs sound similar to previous versions – on the LOUD side. The ‘Quieter Life’ CD2 has new versions/ mixes are nice to have. It is jammed with content at 81 mins.
The live CD should have been a download. The advance the publicity suggested that it is of the same quality as the Live EP but it certainly isn’t. It is the ‘toilet bowl mi’x – listen to it on You Tube/ Spotify. Time to involve Trading Standards on this misrepresentation. The only good thing to be said is that it is atmospheric.
Overall I am happy with the package – the new vinyl makes up for the poor live mix.
FYI – My copy from Amazon only had the title spot varnishing on the LP cover.


Paul, re your video? the 4 track Live In Tokyo EP was tagged onto the end of the 2003/2004 Obscure Alternatives remaster which I assume was it’s first UK CD issue.

As for this one? I have loads of audience recording bootlegs but I tend to draw the line at certain levels of sound quality and this gig sounds woeful, despite a great setlist. The famous Budokan March 1979 bootleg is much better but more probably aligned with their first 2 records and as others have alluded Hammersmith ’81 is excellent, albeit that’s more GTP era. Anyway, I have the BMG remasters of Quiet Life and Assemblage plus my ye olde Japanese Hansa gatefold import vinyl to tide me along. :)

As an aside – Steve Jansen (and Tim Burgess) did an excellent Tin Drum playback on Twitter at the weekend, posting some amazing studio pictures from the TD era, it’s worth a flick through his account for that alone.


Gary Hunter

Finally heard some of the Live CD, my god what were they thinking of including it in this release, whether it is deemed historic or not, surely there must be proper live recordings from this period of Japan’s output.

The main album and mixes disc sound excellent though.


I almost bought two of these – one as a gift for my sister – but I am so glad I decided against it. I don’t like live CDs in general even when top notch but I listened to this on Spotify and have to agree that BMG and anyone involved in this should be thoroughly ashamed. A deluxe doesn’t have to be a 5.1 mix and loads of extra content but it should smell of care and love. This stunks of a cynical cash grab to hit sales targets and I’ll think twice about buying anything with the BMG label in future. Nice video Paul, nonetheless. When I saw it I was very pleased to have saved my money.


Does anyone else find the volume of the red vinyl to be rather…..quiet? Compared to other Half Speed Mastered vinyl I own I really have to crank up the volume by an extra 40%. I’ve never really experienced that level of difference before.

Andy Robertson

Yes. I played the title track on the original vinyl then on the new red one, and it’s definitely quieter.


Thanks Andy. Thought I was losing my mind or had just got a defective version. It’s a shame because it really is a beautiful looking record and the music is great.


Bought the single CD with the bonus ‘Life in Tokyo’ from the artist’s site (via SDE) and have to say it is excellent. The sound quality of a 1979 production is perfect. Very happy.
I wanted the ‘A QUIETER LIFE’ disc, but thought it was way too much of a leap in price.


After reading all the comments preparing me to expect how bad the live concert would sound, I pre-listened it on itunes, expecting it’s not that bad. But no, it’s even worse. The performance itself is great though.


I think you would have to be a sadist to listen to that Live at Budokan CD more than once as it sounds horrendous and they should be ashamed of themselves allowing that to be released to the general public.


Am I right in thinking this was only available to pre-order on the band’s official website ? I did so paying £71 (inc. £6 postage) only to find out that if I’d waited until it was released i could go on Amazon UK now and pay £45.37 for it (with free postage). Wouldn’t have minded if it was a fiver cheaper but £25. 37 ? Not a happy bunny :-(


Hmm… unfortunately it’s too late to cancel my order. And now thanks to Brexit I have to pay almost 32 EUR extra as well (taxes/VAT). This deluxe box, which doesn’t look very deluxe at all, and a poor quality live CD – many many thanks for not telling before, but only mention in the 12″ booklet!! – makes me regret I ordered this 130 EUR box-set. Yes, 130 EUR (!!!) that’s what it will cost me in the end…box-set, shippingcosts and ‘Brexit- taxes’… *sigh*.

However…it is a great album, and I know, nobody forced me to buy this. But it seems everybody agrees this re-issue is a bit of an over-priced disappoinment…


Who is collecting those ‘Brexit taxes’? Not the UK.


Unfortunately I have become more and more disappointed with the product, the live recording is just so off putting, shame as I was really looking forward to this. I’ve decided to return this and go for the red vinyl edition.


My red vinyl arrived from amazon UK yesterday, with a huge crease in the top right corner. It looks like the shrink wrap in that area is way too tight and has pulled the corner of both the outer and inner sleeve out of shape. But it seems like every record I buy from amazon has a problem. Damaged sleeves, scratched vinyl, items missing. I’ve even had lp’s delivered in paper bags. It’s going back for a refund and I’ll buy it elsewhere instead. But not SOV. Anywhere but SOV.

On the subject of shrink wrap – if anyone is interested, I find the shrink wrap from lp’s make good protective covers for booklets accompanying lp’s. And it’s environmentally friendly.


I’m confused… everybody and their sister are giving us unboxing videos about how these box set *look*… not a single word, ever, about how they *sound*.
But that’s still the reason we buy them right? For the music?

I’m saying this because if any reviewer had warned me in advance about how BAD the live disc sounds, and I mean not even bootleg quality… now that would have been precious advice.


Seconded. It’s all very nice seeing what these things look like but the important thing to most people is what they sound like…

John MC cann

Youv obviously done ok in life Chris if you’re happy to pay £100 for two demo discs? You’ve got deep pockets ,,as for people pouring over your 6th form homework! Don’t apply to me, iwas kicked out of st rocks secondary in Glasgow at the age of 14,, and I can’t say I blame them!

Chris Squires

No John, I haven’t got deep pockets any more and it wouldn’t just be for two demo discs, but as part of the package it would make it worthwhile. A 5 or 6 disc SDE with the unreleased demos as part of the deal….irresistable. Not just two discs on their own.

Anyway as everybody here knows your pockets shift in depth depending on how much you love the artist.

John MC cann

I don’t have deep pockets any more,,,,, classic I know wot you mean Chris! and so do my wife’s solicitors


Soo000o tempted to cancel my box from amazon.it. I would have liked all those b-sides etc on one disc but the live album sounds awful. I got the Life In Tokyo CD from Townsend and that appears to have been mastered from mp3s. I feel like I want to cancel the box at the moment but I’m worried that future me will regret it.


I got my one from Amazon Italy today. Though it was shipped from within the UK. I think for the price Amazon Italy were selling for (£34 including shipping) I have no complaints. It has enough in the box to keep me happy and to think it was worth the money.


Way too expensive. Couldn’t they adopt the “Jethro Tull format” (and pricing)? Surely it would sell a lot more that way.


The LP is NOT a “half speed” master


The sticker on the front of my box that arrived today says it is.

Dean F

After having bought the vinyl + Life In Tokyo EP from the band’s store, I’ve cancelled my cheap Amazon Italy box set order. It’s mainly due to the poor quality of the live CD which I’ve listened to on Spotify. I can put up with a lot audibly being in possession of lots of bootlegs but like others on this page, I can’t believe this was the best thing they had in the vaults and you need a bit of patience to listen to it. It’s a shame I’ll miss out on the Quieter Life CD but I have most of those mixes elsewhere (and it’s on Spotify). I prefer to buy physical product but there’s so much good stuff coming up and the money pit isn’t bottomless. A double CD of the album + Quieter Life would have been ideal for most I suspect.


Wish I had read all the reviews before I purchased this. The first 2 CDs are excellent- very noticeable upgrade from previous versions. HOWEVER, the live 3rd CD is horrible. As others have mentioned, it is a bootleg recording, as you can hear people talking and the screaming is ear-piercing. So it looks I’m essentially stuck with a 2 CD set for almost $65.00. Going to put the LP on EBay so at least I’ll be able to reduce some of my costs. Very disappointed!

Chris Squires

Sadly my feelings are mostly of disappointment and the well-worn trope of “missed opportunity”.

The blueprint for Quiet Life, Tin Drum and Gentlemen Take Polaroids should have been the Roxy Music SDE from three years ago (Really? Is it that far back?).

With the seeming dearth of material that they have at their disposal the only other option was to class it out. A proper hardback book on proper paper, with all of the best photographs and some new ones to boot. Not a pamphlet or glorified CD booklet.

One square that I can’t seem to circle are the twin decisions of a) The demo material isn’t good enough and we aren’t happy with putting out anything that compromises the quality the Japan brand. Which I can understand, to a point, however disappointing that is. But to then say b) here is an audience recording from cassette tape of one of our concerts it doesn’t sound very good but it’ll do……. just doesn’t fit with the ideals of a).

A sensible decision would have been to provide both or neither. Because doing what they have done just does not sit well with me. Japan always had the courage of their convictions and this set is an unsatisfying compromise. Christ alone knows of the issues surrounding getting something like this out in the first place dealing with people and companies whose sole role is to get in the way of something fans would actually want. So I do understand it’s never as easy as it seems.

I fear for Gentlemen take Polaroids and Tin Drum and would rather they stayed in the shed of our dreams rather than put out something that is neither fish nor flesh. But I can see a way forward. Firstly make a proper book. 120 pages, do some interviews, dig out some unseen private pictures. Make the book stand up in it’s own right. Include the videos, Old Grey Whistle Test, some TV performances. Include any demos and unreleased stuff. Don’t get precious about it. It has to be desirable. I would genuinely rather pay £80 for an item of quality that shows some effort and investment has been put in. 3CD, DVD, 120 page book on good stock than £50 on this.

The phrase that always sticks with me about Japan is “Leave them wanting more” and they did, it’s just this release is probably not what that phrase was intended for.
I wanted and hoped for more.

John MC cann

And now you know why David wants absolutely nothing to do with the whole Japan brand!,, He knew the skeletons in the closet was a load of poor material that could only damage his reputation just as this box set seems to be doing! Having said that I like the spot varnished box and I’m pretty sure they will be clearing them out in HMV come June or July for £30

Chris Squires

No John, it’s not even that. Reputation Schmeputation! It’s not a load of poor material. There is a lack of quantity to choose from, sure, but there is stuff to be heard and it could be used without damaging the image of the group if handled in a proper, Roxy Music way. Would I have wanted to hear early versions of Halloween, hell yes. The early demos would be a treasure trove, I have the demos of the first albums and they are raw but oh so interesting to listen to. Many radio sessions are quite the knockabout affair, not much better than studio demos.

David reminds me of Kate Bush in his attitude and having 50 or 60 of her demos on me ‘ard drive is absolutely wonderful. Having discussed these over the years with dozens if not hundreds of people via various groups I can’t recall a single soul saying they wouldn’t want them cleaned up and put into a Kick Inside SDE, charge me £100 for two discs of demos I don’t care. The demos are already available to those of a determined and inquisitive disposition. So they aren’t perfect 4 track 1 inch tape masters. No one cares about that. It is the same with Japan.

One of my favourite artifacts over the last couple of dacades is So DNA. Do I care that it started out as humming and drumming to a click track. As someone once said “It’s like having people poring over your sixth form homework”. But treated with the right amount of respect, in the proper manner, in the right circumstance they will be loved.
And I’d still rather they were alive to receive my money than dead and it all gets swallowed up into a black hole of trust funds.

I know and understand why many will disagree. But then make it worthwhile or don’t bother. GTP with two unheard tracks that they might or might not allow will be a waste of time and money.


I agree. Paul has managed interviews to be on here with members of the band in the last week.
Something like that could have gone in the booklet.
We could have had alternative takes of the songs. I’d be happy to hear Mick playing a bass part and going “ fuck it” near the end as he messes up. That would be a charming feature.
Lennon had alternate takes on the Imagine deluxe.


I cancelled my order for the box and went for the single cd after Paul Rymer gave a positive assessment on SDE of the new mastering. I’m pretty glad I took that step, this new master is excellent so I’m happy with that. Thanks to Paul Rymer for his advice!
This box reminds me a little of the Iggy Berlin box in terms of the ‘thin’ content, glad I cancelled that one as well, although I did buy the two disc reissues and kind of regretted that.
The moral of the story is: save your money for the the really well done boxes unless there is genuinely something in there that you want… or you have unlimited supplies of money:)


I bought both the red vinyl and the boxset. I’m a Japan fan of old and I really wanted to hear some “rare” stuff of theirs. But I’m vastly underwhelmed at what I got for £50. Firstly, a black vinyl copy of the lp isn’t a bad thing. It means I can keep my red vinyl in mint condition. Something for the kids to flog when it comes to that time lol. I don’t normally collect cd’s either, but its handy to rip and have on my phone when I’m walking the dogs. The cd of singles, b-sides etc is good, but the favourite song for Japan fans, Life In Tokyo, isn’t even included in its original 12″ version anywhere in the collection. To get that, you have to head over to Townsend Records and buy the “Life In Tokyo ep” cd as an add-on for the other formats. And I would’ve liked a heads up that the Budokan concert on cd3 is an audience recorded bootleg. And one that obviously wasn’t recorded on high bias cassette by the sounds of it. I would’ve liked to have seen a dvd, or better still, Bluray, of the album in high quality 24/96 (and surround sound) audio, along with promo videos, tv spots etc. I just think Steve Jansen and Rob Dean (I don’t think Richard Barbieri and David “Too Cool For School” Sylvian wanted anything to do with it) could’ve put a bit more work into curating this release. Especially after the excellent double album Abbey Road remasters of Gentlemen Take Polaroids and Tin Drum releases.

By direct comparison, Ultravox released a 5 cd + dvd boxset of Vienna (complete with its own dodgy cassette recordings. Go figure.), with each disc in its own individual cardboard sleeve, a booklet, and 4 art prints, in 2 gatefold sleeves for £48. Okay, so there’s no vinyl lp included. But the highly sought after St Albans gig recording, and audio-only dvd more than makes up for that.

Gary Tilford

So glad I didn’t go for this set, so many negatives. I still have my 3lp red vinyl MOV set and that sounds superb and has loads of extra versions including Life In Tokyo. I agree with you MichaelM that sets today should come with a hi res dvd or blu ray as standard. Chrysalis got it right with Vienna. Can’t wait for Rage In Eden.

Dean F

Just looked at that MOV 3 LP version on Discogs. Looks a lot classier than this latest version.

Paul Taylor

From Steve Hoffman Forum:

“Mastering of the album and CD2 was by Phil Kinrade at Alchemy Mastering.
Mastering of CD3 was by Steve Jansen.
Not sure about who mastered the Life In Tokyo CD or whether it was a direct lift from the original master of the disc. Will be able to tell when mine arrives.
Update: the LIT CD has arrived and there has been a remastering although not a huge difference.
I would work on the assumption that Phil did this one as well.”
If true it explains a lot.

Charles K

I only picked up the stand alone vinyl and have to say it sounds incredible to my ears. I also have an original pressing and the reissue from several years ago so comparisons were easy to do. To each his or her own I guess. I don’t need box sets but sure hope AS, their debut and Oil On Canvas will get a vinyl reissue as well.

Paul Taylor

Some interesting comments here. I bought the box set (not yet opened) and the red vinyl, which I played today. I have to agree that it’s not the step up in sound quality you’d expect from an AR half speed remaster like New Gold Dream was. I also agree that it’s a bit strange that there is none of the normal evidence present that we see with AR stuff; there is always an etching of some sort in the runout area. The sound of this one is closer to the Alchemy remaster of Vienna, which offered no improvement on the 2015 reissue.
I think it would be helpful if BMG were willing to clarify this for the benefit of those who bought it expecting something better.


If this were a cake it would be a lot if frosting. This is really a 2 CD deluxe edition disguised as a boxed set. The live disc is a throwaway, the vinyl is what it is, but unnecessary. The booklet is an oversized CD booklet, So this is basically for people who like boxed sets or “need” to complete their collection for their museum but not a lot of substance if you want something new from the era. The 3 disc slip thing really is horrible and simply lazy: Each needed its own sleeve. Most of disc 2 was compiled in the Japanese compilation Singles in the mid 90’s, granted it is not readily available anymore. I find it funny, demos and alternates get a no but a bootleg cassette is ok… odd choices, but they are likely saving those scraps for later. A whole disc of Life in Tokyo really would be cruel, but for what this is, and the price it should have been part of this set. If it were a 2 disc set I would rate it much higher, but for what this is supposed to be, it is it gets 2 out of 5 stars.

Ian F

If anyone is thinking about this set but is unsure about the quality of the live set, the full box set is on Spotify


I get most annoyed when they have that slip of paper, with the contents on, and it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the package. It’s left loose.

Great video, now happy I haven’t wasted £50! (I prefer SDE’s for content not display purposes)

Mark Jensen

I saw this box at my local record store yesterday, but it was pretty easy to pass up without the Life In Tokyo remix cd. That seems like by far the most desirable part of this whole release so it’s a shame it’s not included in the box or just available on its own. I’d gladly pay $20 or even more just for that cd if it were available. I’ve no interest in the remaster, as my old cd version of the album sounds very good.


Using a cleaned up cassette tape as a source is only OK if you are told that before ordering. If this fact was not disclosed, then I find it rather underhand.

Sean Hewitt

Thanks for this video, Paul. I’ve now cancelled my dirt-cheap Amazon Italy order. The content of this box is extraordinarily thin – essentially the album, a disc of remixes and B-sides and a vinyl LP I’ll never play plus what sounds like an unlistenable bootleg of a live gig. I’ve now ordered the single CD version and will put the savings towards the Plastic Ono Band set. There are so many quality SDEs at the moment and I’d rather invest into those in which a little more thought has been expended. Many thanks for the site and the numerous ways to spend my money.


You could’ve sold the LP on Amazon or eBay and gotten back @£20 reducing the price of the 3CDs and booklet to @£10 with the Amazon Italy price so potentially the same price as the single disc in the end.


Looks a bit light on content but I’m a fan of the slipcase a la Vienna and looking forward to getting this. Intrigued to hear the quality of the live show.

Ashleigh jones

So the box seemingly back to front… its simple as you put the box set onto your storage shelf open side in …. the front cover is on the left side .. sorry “lefties’!! You thumb through your record collection left to right????!!

Steven Roberts

Ludicrous that they should have included a bootleg live recording, yet not the Life In Tokyo remixes CD.


Played the vinyl cut – found it poor sounding in comparison to the original press, or even the Fame one from later. I can’t believe this is an Abbey Road Half Speed cut – after the excellent GTP and TD ones from a few years back, this one doesn’t follow the same traits. I don’t see any credits anywhere for the cut, and there is nothing in the deadwax. I’m instantly suspicious

Rare Glam

Regardng the slip case having the wrong end open and so appearing to be back to front, see also the recent The Kinks – Lola Versus The Powerman box set, same thing. Is this a ‘thing’ now? Must also add glad to find the spec sheet is that much smaller than the box so it easily slips inside the booklet and hence the box itself. Got mine for £42 off Amazon Uk as they were giving away free £5 credit vouchers at the time and I slapped it on there. Happier I paid nearer £40 than £50 for it. I would have been happy with a trifold card digipack of the 3 CDs. Not played the live disc yet but very happy to have the ‘Quieter Life’ set of remixes and singles etc. The vinyl is just art to look at for me.

John 79

Very disappointed with the Japan artist store at Townsend Records, I was expecting my order today , the box set, red vinyl and the life in Tokyo EP but an hour ago I received an email from Townsend saying that the Red vinyl was not available until next week, this is really frustrating as I ordered all the Japan items within 1 hour of the items being made available for pre order and at the very last minute they delay my order, really frustrating and not very good customer service to only relay this information to me after the fact… Or am I mistaken and the red vinyl of Quiet life is only being released next week?
Has any body else had a similar problem with Townsend records?
This is the second of three cock ups in three orders recently, I’m not impressed…

Gary Hunter

John, I have had issues with Townsend’s too in the past, damaged item and also CD’s arriving way past release date, so you are not on your own.

Gary Butler

I ordered the red vinyl from another site and it arrived yesterday so it must be a specific issue with Townsend Stores


Received my red vinyl from resident music on Friday.


I unsubscribed from their marketing emails after ordering stuff and then them turning round and cancelling the orders stating the item was out of stock. Last one was the Costello red vinyl.


I’m guessing the box is back to front, as in Japan you would read books back to front to western eyes. However, if you’re going to do that for the box, you would think they’d run with the theme and do that for the books & covers inside.