It turned out to be a tribute to Bruce Lee. Nan's track is called Tiger and Dragon. I couldn't see a way of ordering it, but luckily a fellow Nan fan found a site in Japan that was selling it. Now the dilemma: should I go ahead and order this huge double album, costing 5100¥ including postage and packing, simply for one song? This was Nan's first original material for ten years; what if - God forbid - it turned out to be disappointing?
Well, as you will have guessed, I did go ahead and order it. I picked it up from Putney Post Office on Thursday 13th January, on my way to work. Putney Station has never witnessed so great an event as the opening of that parcel! The CD comes in a beautiful black and gold box, and each artist has an illustrative card to themselves. You can see Nan's card on this page.
I listened to Tiger and Dragon sneakily at work when I should have been teaching the European Computer Driving Licence. Even through tinny headphones on a computer it sounded fantastic - worth every single yen. (How much is 5100¥ in ús, anyhow? I suppose I'll know when I get my bank statement!) Of the songs on Manta Ray, the one it sounds most like is Big Picture. It's not an instantly catchy thing like Motorcycle or No More Lullabyes, but it grows on you like a sunflower. It's as gorgeously atmospheric as anything Nan has done before, but this time with a darker, more sophisticated edge. The hypnotic, three-note refrain goes "Don't cross me" - a more direct, aggressive sentiment than any of her previous lyrics. If Nan releases a full-length album - and the word is that she has enough material for it, if only some label would sign her up - it will be fascinating indeed.
Here's a link to CD Japan, where I bought the album.