Peter Murphy in Dalis Car

One and Done

Initial recording sessions for Dalis Car were conducted in a very different manner, with Murphy and Karn exchanging cassettes via mail, offering ideas and blueprints to future songs in this manner instead of sitting together in a recording studio. In May 1984, the two did finally sit down and work together recording at Virgin’s Air Studios in Oxford, and London’s Manor and Hernplace Studios. Karn played all the instruments, Murphy offered lyrics and vocals, and Paul Vincent Lawford was recruited for drums and percussion (Lawford had previously auditioned as drummer for Karn’s debut solo album, but did not actually appear on that album).

Following the eight week recording session, music magazines began to publish features on Dalis Car, suggesting it to be a long term project but stressing that neither Murphy nor Karn would be “playing second fiddle to the other.” By late October, Paradox Records (a joint collaboration of Virgin Records, who represented Karn, and Beggars Banquet, who represented Murphy) released the first (and only) single for Dalis Car, The Judgement Is The Mirror. The 12” version of the single featured two instrumental tracks, Lifelong Moment and High Places, both of which had no contributions from Murphy and are, for all intents and purposes, Karn solo compositions. A stylish, slick music video was also filmed for the single, featuring Karn and Murphy passing off a laserdisc “mirror.” The video was largely shot at the ruined flue of the Ballycorus lead mine in Dublin, Ireland, and at a defense tower overlooking the Ghajn Tuffieha Bay in Malta.

In November, Dalis Car made their first and only live television appearance on the BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test to perform His Box from the forthcoming album. The Waking Hour was released days later to minimal acclaim with most reviews suggesting the album as a literal mashup of the two – Murphy’s visual otherworldly lyrics coupled to Karn’s unique soundscape instrumentation – with neither piece complimenting or improving the other. These lackluster reviews combined with strained recording conditions and conflicts between Murphy and Karn (both wanted to lead the project in their own way) lead to the rapid dissolution of the group by the year’s end.

Following the dissolution of Dalis Car, Karn continued with his solo work, releasing a handful of albums and several singles. Karn also collaborated with various musicians during this period and appeared on numerous albums mostly as a session bassist. Karn also rejoined with his former Japan bandmates for a one-off album under the new moniker Rain Tree Crow (being everything Japan was sans the new name and slightly differing music style that comes with a seven year hiatus). In time, Karn would also release the first part of his autobiography, Japan & Self Existence. On the other side, Murphy went on to begin his solo career, releasing several albums and singles and carving out a solid niche in the realm of pop rock. The idea of Karn and Murphy reuniting was outlandish at best.