Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Africa Mix

I lied. Here's an "unmixed" mix I found in the car from about 2 years ago. I liked listening to it again and hopefully you will too.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ryuichi Sakamoto - BTTB (Sony Classical, 2000)

The masterful playing of Ryuichi = sounds to soothe the stress of a mid-semester workload.

"Opus" and "Lorenz and Watson," among others, show that Ryu studied my spirit guide of the piano, Erik Satie, quite closely.

And this version of "Tong Poo" is quite lovely and dynamic. 

I'll be gone for about a week, busy travels, hope you enjoy this one as much I have this Sunday afternoon.


My favorite piano duo: 


Monday, March 10, 2014

Phil Manzanera - Primitive Guitars (EG, 1982)

Tasty collection of instrumental tracks from this prolific guitarist with quite a solid track record (founding member of Roxy Music, collaborator with Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Yuki Takahashi...). I really like how he describes his approach to the guitar ("guitars that don't sound like guitars" being a key element of my own taste). Some of these tracks haven't aged so well, and I could do without the muffled studio interludes, but tracks like "Rimto de LA," "Europe 70-1" and "Bogota" knock it out of the park. Great approach to effects, perhaps some guitar synth in there? I'm sold. Recommended if you love those out-there double tracked solos on early Eno albums (Warm Jets, Tiger Mountain).

(back cover detail, check it out) 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Yukihiro Takahashi - What, Me Worry? (Alfa, 1982)

I don't want anything to do with anything
That isn't going to make the world a better place to live in
You know what I mean
There just isn't enough time for that...
Yuki with a special one. The intro to "Flashback," then the big strings... Bill Nelson, YMO's secret weapon, on eBowed guitar... "My Highland Home in Thailand"... pop hooks galore. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Haruomi Hosono - Philharmony (Yen Records, 1982)

Another one I've been searching for for quite a while. 

If I had to sum it up in one word - make that two: "Sports Men." 

This was my introduction to Hosono's solo career (via the excellent root strata mix). As I listen to it on repeat while writing this, the song's got to top anything YMO ever put out. This is a non-argument, like when Freud says it's a manifestation of your unconscious.

Released in '82 on his and Yuki's Yen label, this is a freewheeling, joyfully disorganized record, with aforementioned pop tunes rubbing shoulders with a cover of a well-known 19th century Italian song, takes on traditional Japanese percussion ("Luminescent/Hotaru"), and one-man choral pieces ("Philharmony"). Some of the sonic risks he takes on numbers like "Birthday Party" remind me of Ryuichi's dance soundtrack "Esperanto" - or some of the MIDI play employed by contemporary sound artists like Oneohtrix Point Never or Demdike Stare. A joy to listen to.

So, enjoy!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Various - Yen Manifold Vol. 1 (Yen Records, 1983)

I've been searching for this one for a while... Leonidas over at Warm & Gooey does a great job of telling the story of Harry Hosono and Yuki Takahashi's Yen Records (or the lack of story thereof) and the grail quest for collectors of finding their records/information about them (Also, check out the nice mix he made!). Fortunately, the far reaches of Google offer up gems like this from time to time. 

This label sampler offers 4 tunes from Interior to start us off (you might know their excellent eponymous LP that root strata was kind enough to supply).  These have a slightly different vibe from the Interior sound I was familiar with (except 'Hot Beach' from the LP) - and vocals - but still solid. Side 2 is more my speed: 3 tracks from Koji Ueno, whose music is pretty unavailable online (anybody got a copy of "Music for Silent Movies" they'd be willing to share?) and two non-LP songs from  Testpattern, one of my all time faves. The Ueno stuff is in the same vein as the Ryuichi soundtrack I posted last time - speedy orchestration that would sound at home in video game or anime scenes. And "Friday" is the most blissful of Testpattern tracks IMHO.

Here's to hoping someone reissues the Yen Box. Until then, happy hunting!

My favorite Koji number from this one:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Adventures of Chatran (Midi Inc., 1986)

As the internet and the back cover attest, this is Ryuichi's (stellar) soundtrack for the Japanese release of "Milo and Otis." I feel like my young life would have been cooler had I been hearing these MIDI-fied jams instead of whatever stringy schmaltz Disney cooked up. Lots of lovely numbers ranging from songs that sound teased up from the Synclavier-type technology Ryuichi was using at the time to seemingly fuller orchestra numbers (but who can tell?). He brings it, as always. If you're as into the 80's Japan scene as me, you'll want to hear this.