Musician Mick Karn dies at 52

Instrumentalists played with group Japan

Multi-instrumentalist Mick Karn died Tuesday at his home in Chelsea, England, after a long battle with cancer, according to his official website. He was 52.

Karn was a gifted fretless bass player best known for his work with the arty glam-rock group Japan, but he also excelled on such wind instruments as bassoon, saxophone and Chinese suona.

Born Adonis Michaelides in Nicosia, Cyprus, Karn immigrated to England with his family at age 3. In the early ’70s, he became a founding member of Japan, whose members included future solo artist David Sylvian. The band released five studio albums and a live set between 1977-81 before disbanding fractiously, later regrouping in 1991 for one album under the moniker Rain Tree Crow.

Karn went on to work as a solo artist, formed Dalis Car with Bauhaus vocalist Peter Murphy and worked as a sideman with Kate Bush and Joan Armatrading.

During the ’90s and ’00s, Karn issued 10 solo and collaborative projects on his own imprints, Medium Prods. (run cooperatively with ex-Japan members Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri) and MK Music. In the new millennium, he worked with several Eastern musicians in the Doggy Eels project and collaborated with Hong Kong guitarist Paul Wong Koon-Chung. He issued an autobio, “Japan and Self Existence,” in 2006. –

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