Apr 28, 2007

Japan YMO

Japan YMO, yes i didnt forget about them, in fact it was YMO that first brought japanese music home to me. For 5 years i collected most i could get my hands on at that time -early eighties. Then in 1984 YMO folded and somehow the distribution channels towards Europe dissappeared aswell.

YMO was originally conceived as a studio project by Hosono, the other two members being recruited session musicians - the idea was to produce an album fusing orientalist exotica (cf their cover version of Martin Denny's Firecracker) with modern electronics. However the first album (with its cutting-edge production) was very popular, and the studio project grew into a fully fledged touring band and career for its three members. In fact it was Hosono's previous album "Paraiso" which started it all , and lay at the base of the name aswell as it was released as Haruomi Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band , anyway track 6 Femme Fatale has the YMO recording together for the first time.

For a few short years YMO were recording, performing and producing others aswell as releasing solo work, i wonder where that Kraftwerk comparison has come from, them germans were never that active, nor have i recognised much humor in their work.
Making abundant use of new synthesizers, samplers, digital and computer recording technology as it became available, YMO's popularity and influence extended beyond Japan. In fact 6,5 studio albums wasnt that much considering their combined solo output passes a 100 albums by now, but as said they really wizzed at the time. A decade later they got together again but the release of that album was marred by a rights issue about the YMO name and some samples, though Technodon is a good album they found out that working together as YMO no longer provided the energy and inspiration it once did. Though Hosono and Takahashi with the occasional dash of Sakamoto have released several albums these last years under the name of Sketch Show.

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Hosono, Haruomi and the Yellow Magic Band - Paraiso (78)
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 1000 Knives Of (78)
Yello Magic Orchestra - YMO I (79)
YMO - Xoo Multiplies (80)
YMO - Technodelic (82)

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Haruomi Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band - Paraiso (78 * 60mb)

In ways the fore runner of YMO as the closeness of the name implies, on femme fatale the trio records together for the first time. Still this is Hosono doing his thing. The style here is exotica and more like a tropical band album than a synth album so musically this isn't much connected with YMO's style apart from YMO carrying over many exotica references on the debut, as such Parasio is relatively distant from YMO (Cochin Moon is actually closer to YMO due to heavy synth use) and Takahashis debut solo "Saravah" could clame that pre YMO title.

01 - Tokyo Rush (3:31)
02 - Shimendoka (4:44)
03 - Japanese Rhumba (3:33)
04 - Asatoya Yunta (2:13)
05 - Fuyiyama Mama (2:49)
06 - Femme Fatale (5:00)
07 - Shambhala Signal (3:36)
08 - Worry Beads (4:27)
09 - Paraiso (4:33)

Hosono @ Home
Hosono discography
Hosono @ Amazon

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Ryuichi Sakamoto - 1000 Knives Of (78 flac 326mb)

Ryuichi attended the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he earned a B.A. in music composition and an M.A. with special emphasis on both electronic and ethnic music. This, his first album, shows where he was going at the time, Sakamoto had just spent some time helping out at Hosono's Paraiso album and he would be producing Takahashi's first soloalbum " Saravah" later that year. So the future YMO brethern acquinted themselves thoroughly in 1978, the next years he spend working with them , until the offer of a movie role aswell as the soundtrack composing of Merry Christmas mr. Lawrence opened up a new avenue to him, by now he has composed some 20 scores, apart from his other work.

01 - Thousand Knives Of (9:34)
02 - Island Of Woods (9:50)
03 - Grasshoppers (5:16)
04 - Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied (8:05)
05 - Plastic Bamboo (6:31)
06 - The End Of Asia (6:21)
07 - Riot In Lagos (4:06)
08 - Lexington Queen (4:50)
09 - Warhead (4:32)

Sakamoto @ Base
Sakamoto @ Amazon

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Yellow Magic Orchestra - YMO I  (79 flac 214mb)

Although this is the very first album released by the Yellow Magic Orchestra, it is immediately very good. YMO gets into the groove straight away. Humour is the word here the sheer fun they must have had making it clearly shines through and, I find, is irresistible.
Both this and their second album have that initially disorienting blend of the old and the new, a theme expressed visually by the robot-girl in kimono on the cover. This means familiar pop-music forms dressed up in vaguely oriental synth sounds, which at the time were quite advanced technologically. At first hearing it can sound slightly kitschy, which perhaps it was meant to be, but repeated listening also reveals quite complicated and musically interesting, indeed orchestral arrangements. The vocoder-sounds may appear outdated, but the overall sound is still fresh and original after all these years

01 - Computer Game (Theme From "The Circus") (1:48)
02 - Firecracker (4:51)
03 - Simoon (6:27)
04 - Cosmic Surfin' (4:54)
05 - Computer Game (Theme From "The Invader") (1:01)
06 - Yellow Magic (Tong Poo) (6:14)
07 - La Femme Chinoise (5:53)
08 - Bridge Over Troubled Music (1:16)
09 - Mad Pierrot (4:21)
10 - Acrobat (1:12)

YMO @ FanBase
YMO @ Amazon

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YMO - Xoo Multiplies ( 80  179mb)

This album has had a confusing array of releases,  well record company's what do you expect ? But as such its a good album, plenty to enjoy.

01 Jingle 'Y.M.O.' (0:20)
02 Nice Age (3:46)
03 Snakeman Show (1) 1:56
04 Tighten Up (Japanese Gentlemen Stand Up Please!) 3:41
05 Snakeman Show (2) 2:05
06 Here We Go Again - Tighten Up 1:07
07 Snakeman Show (3) 1:26
08 Citizens Of Science (4:30)
09 Snakeman Show (4) 2::08
10 Multiplies (2:57)
11 Snakeman Show (5) 3:45
12 The End Of Asia 1:32

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YMO - Technodelic (82 flac 268mb)

I had a hard time chosing between Technodelic and BGM i like both albums very much, ive chosen Technodelic as its a little more adventurous- specialy vocally and i think its a classic which productionwise lacks just that edge which would have completely raised it above everything else ( no chance it will ever get a full kling klang treatment), that said it sure was one of my favourite albums of 1982.

01 - Pure Jam (4:30)
02 - Neue Tanz (4:59)
03 - Stairs (4:15)
04 - Seoul Music (4:47)
05 - Light In Darkness (3:39)
06 - Taiso (4:22)
07 - Gradated Grey (5:34)
08 - Key (4:34)
09 - Prologue (2:32)
10 - Epilogue (4:22)

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* All downloads are in * ogg-7 (224k) or ^ ogg-9(320k), artwork is included , if in need get the nifty ogg encoder/decoder here !


Anonymous said...

and YOU****

Little Axe said...

Many thanks for all these great YMO and related albums. It's a real pleasure to rediscover them after all this time. Great stuff.

Kenneth said...

Never was into YMO at the time although I've always been into electronic music. But it's never too late I always say. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This must be the ugliest piece of bread I've ever eaten.

Hosono is my hero.

Anonymous said...

hi, i like this blog, he you heard the song Ikenai Rouge Magic with Kiyoshiro Imawano with Ryuichi Sakamoto? its a really good example of good japanese new wave music from 1982. you should look out for the albbum they produced together.

Anonymous said...

Please to reup the Multiplies and Thousand Knives LPs? Thanks in advance.

Rho said...

Well these have been re-upped now.

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