"BGM" by the Yellow Magic Orchestra is the greatest electronic pop album ever.

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I searched for posts on this album and found a poll and a general YMO thread, but for me this album is so remarkable that it really deserves a thread of its own. I seriously think this is the best techno/electropop album ever made. The production on this shit is so dense that I notice different things about each track depending on what stereo system I'm playing it on.

1. Ballet - I love the rump-shaking beat and the spooky surrealistic lyrics sung by Yuki (who is probably a better vocalist in Japanese than English, but I think his voice has tons of character. The Bryan Ferry comparisons seem lazy)on this. The snare hits are recorded so dry, upfront and middy that they sound like sticks of bamboo cracking and the layers of synths at the end make what would otherwise be repetitive mesmerizing. And that woman speaking French who is in like 10 YMO-related tracks, who is she?

2. Music Plans - More strange English lyrics chorused and vocoded to death (I've listened to this dozens of times and still haven't decoded all of them), apparently about making music itself. The synth textures are more varied and considerately-handled than pretty much anything I've heard — I notice a synth squiggle buried in the mix that I'd never noticed almost every other time I hear it, and any one of the melodies in this could be a hook in itself. Probably my favorite track on the album.

3. Rap Phenomena - The general consensus seems to think this is an ill-advised foray into rap, either forgetting or not knowing that YMO were as famous for their comedy skits as their music. More great production and just lots of fun.

4. Happy End - Probably the weakest track on the album but still fascinating and prescient. Lots of swirling synths and flashes of color with a water-drop drum track under it all — this is "ambient techno" 12 years before the fact.

5. 1000 Knives - I think I prefer Sakamoto's own version, but the one here is a great trove of 808 sounds — and that super-distorted guitar/synth solo!

6. Cue - Another great Yuki vocal with Harry Hosono backing (who also has a very characteristic voice). The fifth-y drone and the insistent bass make this sound hopeful and driving. In fact, it actually makes great driving music!

7. U • T - I don't know what UT stands for, but I imagine this as the theme song to the greatest police drama that never was, with a bizarre middle section with wasp-nesty synths, watery piano and what sounds like a distorted phone conversation.

8. Camouflage - the 808 rhythm on this reminds me of early Aphex twin (like the first Analogue Bubblebath or Selected Ambient Works), and the synths are once again super-layered and varied, with some nice dubby delay effects. The lyrics are short but provocative and imagistic and the bell-like tones closing out the track are gorgeous.

9. Mass - Great sequencer sounds like Tangerine Dream from around the same time and the melodic line sounds an 80s retro-futurist version of the national anthem of some dictatorial country.

10. Loom - the "THX" sound in a watery cave followed by some drones that sound like "On Land" Eno. A slightly anticlimactic ending but still interesting — sounds amazing on headphones!

Whole Foods Employee Typecasting Computer (corey), Monday, 21 June 2010 00:37 (nine years ago) link

Hear Hear! My favorite YMO album by a long stretch and the versions they played in their Winter Live tour (see Youtube) are even more stripped down, dark and aggro. Gorgeous music.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 21 June 2010 00:42 (nine years ago) link

I picked this up cheap on vinyl a few weeks back while in Detroit and was especially blown away by the itemized list of their touring gear on the back cover. A synth nerds wet dream for real.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 21 June 2010 00:45 (nine years ago) link

Haha, Sakamoto's hair in that video is great, and I love the live percussion and the "Gentlemen Take Polaroids" synth sounds.

Whole Foods Employee Typecasting Computer (corey), Monday, 21 June 2010 02:12 (nine years ago) link

yeah the gear list on the back of the vinyl is insane

there's a darkness to this album that was never present in ymo previously, i guess coinciding with their recent friendship with sylvian and japan. bgm and technodelic is kind of their "dark" period. they became conscious of the new romantic and synth pop scenes, began styling their hair and wearing make up; yukiihiro takahashi's croon is stronger and more pronounced, definitely a sylvian influence. there's also an industrial/synth wave influence, a kind of cold and arid european approach

the japan influence is also their in the sense of rhythm, more disjointed and percussive than their earlier disco/lounge hybrids. obv it's all about the 808 on this album, coated in a sheen of thick chorus and gated reverb so it sounds even clankier and mechanical than usual. the prophet 5 also features heavily, lots of glowing cross-mod fx and wide-screen pads. the prophet 5 in its various revisions was probably the most widely used analog synth in japanese pop up until the early 90s, this album solidified that status

it's certainly one of those albums where you hear something new every time you listen. it's somehow incredibly dense yet spacious and airy, credit to hosono-san for the ability to mix so many sounds with such precision. credit should also go to engineer and programmer hideki matsutake, the task of syncing so many machines to tape must've been immense!

ymo were on top of their game at this point -- everything released by ymo and their immediate family between 1981 - 1983 is pure gold. technodelic continues the bgm vibe except with more samples and a pronounced asian feel, lots of gamelan and kecak for example, but it sounds slightly cleaner and more polished, painting over the dark greys of bgm with warmer colours. kinda blows my mind that both albums were released in the same year

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 12:24 (nine years ago) link

btw if you like this period of ymo you should check out testpattern who released on hosono and takahashi's label, yen records

a thread for TESTPATTERN/INTERIOR (cosmic electronic music from japan)

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 12:28 (nine years ago) link

btw the woman speaking french is akiko yano

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 12:41 (nine years ago) link

btw

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 12:48 (nine years ago) link

man "happy end" is such a strange piece of music. there's a different mix included as a bonus track on sakamoto's collab with robin scott, with a deep 808 kick drum pushing it even further into proto-dub techno territory

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 14:11 (nine years ago) link

How I wish somebody would write a book on YMO.

disastrous sixth series (MaresNest), Monday, 21 June 2010 14:39 (nine years ago) link

also "rap phenomena" is neither ill-advised or comical -- hosono touches on some pretty deep stuff if you listen to the lyrics. dude was on a higher plane

wavestation (r1o natsume), Monday, 21 June 2010 14:53 (nine years ago) link

So happy there's a thread about this album. BGM totally influenced an ep I put out about a year ago and continues to inspire me.. Rio - love your info re: all things YMO. Thanks!

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Monday, 21 June 2010 21:49 (nine years ago) link

hey i'd love to hear your ep! message me privately if need be!

wavestation (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 22 June 2010 00:02 (nine years ago) link

Hey R1o - the EP is "Down There" as Professor Genius. It's on iTunes, Emusic etc. but pm me and I'll be happy to send you mp3s.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 22 June 2010 01:13 (nine years ago) link

Isn't there an Akiko Yano album from this period where YMO and Japan members collaborated with her? Always wanted to hear that.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 22 June 2010 12:28 (nine years ago) link

you're professor genius? cool music dude

wavestation (r1o natsume), Tuesday, 22 June 2010 12:32 (nine years ago) link

Yes, that's me. But - not wanting to derail this awesome thread - I thinkthere needs to be a comprehensive YMO comp released outside Japan. With live footage, demos, the works. Up there with the Chic Organization box on my list of fantasy comps.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, 22 June 2010 13:06 (nine years ago) link

"Isn't there an Akiko Yano album from this period where YMO and Japan members collaborated with her? Always wanted to hear that.

― ¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Tuesday, June 22, 2010 1:28 PM (Yesterday) Bookmark"

yeah her second album ai ga nakucha ne is co-produced by her then husband ryuichi sakamoto, and features cameos from the rest of ymo, david sylvian -- the rhythm section is basically all karn/jansen. i think her first record was also produced by sakamoto but it's in more of a jazz fusion vein

pretty much everything i've head from that period that's related to ymo is excellent and worth hunting down -- a few highlights include miharu koshi's hosono-produced album tutu, all of the yen records stuff, testoattern, imoyagi land etc etc as discussed in the thread i linked above (also bands all produced by hosono), all the takahashi solo records, hosono's philharmony album, the first couple of sandii and the sunsetz albums, the various things hosono produced for jun togawa and the first guernica album, the amazing awe-inspiringly perfect "bamboo houses"/"bamboo music" single by sylvian & sakamoto, sakamoto's left handed dream album and "the arrangement" single, the ippu do stuff and masumi tsuchiya's solo album, and a lot more that i'm forgetting or haven't even heard of yet. bearing in mind that all of this music and more (not to mention three more ymo studio albums!) was produced in a three year period it's quite impressive

someone else said it on here before, but it's such a cool "scene" where you get ymo, japan, bill nelson, masami tsuchiya, percy jones, members of the plastics and many others all hanging out and featuring on each others records

wavestation (r1o natsume), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 13:00 (nine years ago) link

plz excuse the typos^^^

wavestation (r1o natsume), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 13:14 (nine years ago) link

also one of the few 80s music scenes that hasn't been repackaged for 00s hipster beardo types. maybe the music is just too sentimental at times, and the weird bits too infrequent. or is it just too difficult to get hold of this stuff?

it seems like with ymo most people tend to stop at bgm though, and prefer the cosmic disco-lounge of the first two albums. wonder why this is? are the later records just not as easily available?

wavestation (r1o natsume), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 13:25 (nine years ago) link

Natsume, let's be friends (actually--do I know you from the Jihen board?).

Japanese techno-pop is my favorite genre of music. I think the reason it's not more popular is because there's so little information about it that's written in English. Also, I think Westerners are quick to stereotype '70s/'80s Japanese music as carbon copies of Western music, which is simply wrong. Sakamoto gets all the hype (and I love love love his synth and production work), but Hosono is a treasure of a songwriter. He has worked on thousands of songs. His stuff in the early '80s is so unique and magical. Have you heard Miharu Koshi's 'Boy Soprano' album? The production is amazing.

Naughty Boys is my favorite YMO album. I think it's less popular here because it sounds the most J-pop. I think the average music fan simply doesn't connect with music that sounds too "Asian."

Patrick South, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 13:58 (nine years ago) link

hi patrick, i think it was you who wrote about how cool the ymo-family scene is!

wavestation (r1o natsume), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:12 (nine years ago) link

I would love to read about any more recommendations anyone might have for more Japanese Techno-Pop/New Wave/J-Pop. I would love to delve further but historical context etc is somewhat hampered by the language barrier.

I would like to rep for this site tho'

http://www.farsidemusic.com/acatalog/index.html

disastrous sixth series (MaresNest), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:30 (nine years ago) link

I would like to be able to concentrate on the football and typing simultaneously and without typing 'I would like' too much also.

disastrous sixth series (MaresNest), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:31 (nine years ago) link

i only own one miharu koshi album, tutu, which is of course amazing. i think this was made before hosono went all digital so i'd be interested in hearing how boy soprano sounds different. he is a fantastic songwriter of course, and is just as good as sakamoto is at balancing catchy melodies with the weirder sound design and experimental stuff. i love the post-ymo stuff he made with the kurzweil k250, the four experimental/ambient albums collected on the monad box are incredible and just as far ahead of the pack as sakamoto's esperanto (another unfuckwithable record). after that, much like sakamoto he delved deeper into traditional pop structures with alot of success. sakamoto got an oscar for the last emperor and went global, while hosono became a national treasure of japan

patrick, have you heard the apogee and perigee single hosono made with jun togawa? i think it's one of my favourite post-ymo thing of hosono's -- it's almost excessively sentimental, but the pristine production, gorgeous melody and ridiculously good vocal performance from jun togawa is completely addictive and saves it from becoming mere karaoke fodder

wavestation (r1o natsume), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 21:18 (nine years ago) link

I have to track down that Akiko Yano! My fave recent Sakamoto finds are GEMM Collection and Garden Of Light And Life ( I think those titles are correct) Lots of fantastic Fairlight and DX experiments going on there as well as some great J-Pop productions for a variety of vocalists. Oh - and the "Computer Obachan" single is wonderful as well.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Wednesday, 23 June 2010 22:39 (nine years ago) link

Ha I was just going to ask when Patrick was going to pop up :)

One of my favorites in this period as well is Chakra's "Satekoso" LP- (thanks to Patrick actually). I've had some luck with OG LPs of this stuff but that one is waaayyy scarce.

I'm surprised that nobody has made moves to reissue any of this stateside.. especially if you look at the pre-80 side of things, including tin pan hosono solo LPs, etc. seems like it would have a pretty reasonably broad-ranging appeal

Bangelo, Wednesday, 23 June 2010 23:15 (nine years ago) link

I've had this on my list for ages, but have not had luck finding the 2003 remaster for under $30. Just might have to give in and dl it. I've had Solid State Survivor, Technodelic and Naughty Boys for a long time. What else? Is Xoo Multiplies worth hearing?

Fastnbulbous, Thursday, 24 June 2010 04:45 (nine years ago) link

Not if you can't track down the version of "Tighten Up" elsewhere or have a perverse taste for semi-comprehensible YMO sketch comedy

Bangelo, Thursday, 24 June 2010 05:17 (nine years ago) link

XP - Patrick, are you the chap that runs Tokyo Recohan by any chance?

disastrous sixth series (MaresNest), Thursday, 24 June 2010 06:58 (nine years ago) link

I discovered YMO a few years ago and they quickly became one of my favourite bands ever, and opened the doors to this strange undiscovered world of Japanese "technopop" or "techno kayokyoku", new wave, etc.

There's quite a lot of info here: http://artcontext.org/music/artskool/jem/index.html
Also http://park10.wakwak.com/~techno/
But these are by no means complete or error-free

There's also a couple of Yahoo Groups (pretty old-world internet, I know, but still quite active):
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/ymorare
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/ymo

There's a few compilation albums from this era worth finding:
- P-Vine "Techno Kayō" (テクノ歌謡) series (8 albums divided between record labels, no CBS/Sony album though), often weirdly transliterated as "Techno Ca-Yo" (with other mistakes in titles).
- SMEJ compilations "Yellow Magic Kayōkyoku" (イエローマジック歌謡曲) and "Techno Magic Kayōkyoku" (テクノマジック歌謡曲), also the newer "Techno Kayō - The Ultimate Collection 1" (テクノ歌謡 THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION 1)
Unfortunately there's a lot of duplication between these though, and the mastering of the SMEJ albums is pretty bad. Loads of YMO-related stuff here though - Hosono especially composed and produced a ton of pop songs around the late '70s/early '80s.

Other stuff I recommend:
- Hosono's SFX and Making of Non-Standard Music (both on the same CD on earlier issues), also all his pre-YMO albums are quite good too though the first few aren't electronic at all (Cochin Moon is all synth, and Paraiso a bit)
- Pizzicato V - Before they were called "Pizzicato Five" they were on Hosono's Non-Standard label (so he produced) as a synthpop band rich in DX7-ly goodness (different singer too)
- Jullan - very obscure but pretty good synthpop
- Nearly everything on Hosono and Takahashi's short-lived Yen Records - Testpattern, Apogee & Perigee, Miharu Koshi, Jun Togawa, Sheena, Guernica, Hajime Tachibana, Interior, Inoyama-Land, etc.
- Takahashi's solo albums Murdered By The Music (1980), Neuromantic (1981) and What, Me Worry? (1982) (his other Yen-era albums are ok-ish, after that it's all a bit meh)
- The Beatniks "Exitentialism" (1981) - Yukihiro Takahashi and Keiichi Suzuki (Moon Riders)
- Moon Riders albums from this era are pretty good from what I've heard so far (Modern Music and Camera Egal Stylo)
- Plastics
- P-Model
- Sakamoto's Ongaku Zukan (音楽図鑑)/Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia (note the latter title is the European version with significantly different tracklisting) and Miraiha Yarō (未来派野郎, often called "Futurista" although not officially titled this AFAIK)
- Saeko Suzuki
- Chakra (mentioned above)
- Logic System - sequencer guy Hideki Matsutake's solo stuff, his 3 '80s albums are great but don't waste your time looking for anything newer

I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting! YMO's live stuff is also pretty good, quite different sound to their studio work and some interesting improv and changes. Also they used no backing tracks until 1983 - it was all played or seqeunced live (their setup in their 1979 and 1980 tours is quite amazing). Loads of great live bootlegs around as well.

"yeah her second album ai ga nakucha ne is co-produced by her then husband ryuichi sakamoto, and features cameos from the rest of ymo, david sylvian -- the rhythm section is basically all karn/jansen. i think her first record was also produced by sakamoto but it's in more of a jazz fusion vein

― wavestation (r1o natsume), 23 June 2010 13:00 (Yesterday) Bookmark"

Ai ga Nakucha Ne is her sixth studio album, her two albums before that - Gohan ga Dekitayo (1980) and Tadaima (1981) are also quite synth heavy and have lots of input from YMO members and Matsutake. Her earlier albums are also quite good, not much synths (though still some, and at least one Matsutake appearance) but lots of Hosono collaborations. There's also her 1978 live album "Tokyo wa Yoru no Shichi-ji" (東京は夜の7時) which has all YMO members playing throughout. I think her work gets less interesting by the mid-80s though, OSOS (1984) has a couple of good tracks but it goes downhill from there.

@Fastnbulbous: If you like music and like dynamic range don't bother with the 1999 (Toshiba-EMI) or 2003 (SMEJ) remasters, they are awful.

@Bangelo: The Snakeman Show sketches on the Multiplies EP aren't YMO, but they were on the same record label and seemed to like each other so collaborated a lot (e.g. the single "Sakisaka To Momonai No Gokigen Ikaga 1-2-3" (咲坂と桃内のごきげんいかが1・2・3), later covered by Sketch Show). But all the YMO tracks on Multiplies are pretty good if you like their earlier stuff.

Zilog Jones, Thursday, 24 June 2010 16:55 (nine years ago) link

"btw the woman speaking french is akiko yano

Suggest Ban Permalink
― wavestation (r1o natsume), 21 June 2010 12:41 (3 days ago)"

It's actually Tomoko Nunoi who's speaking French, same as on La Femme Chinoise (she's credited for that, but not on BGM for some reason).

Zilog Jones, Thursday, 24 June 2010 20:56 (nine years ago) link

A little hunting online tonight and I found the Akiko Yano albums from '80 through '82, including Ai Ga Nakucha Ne. These are fantastic. A YMO lover's dream. I was familiar with several tracks on these already but as a whole they are superb. The one with Japan guesting on some tracks is a real odd bird. Great to hear Sylvian and co. backing AY.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Friday, 25 June 2010 04:22 (nine years ago) link

you should hunt down masami tsuchiya's rice music as well if you haven't already. bass duties are shared by mick karn and percy jones, drums are all steve jansen. bill nelson plays some guitar and sakamoto contributes a song. it's an amazing album, kinda continues from where japan's tin drum left off. still looking for night mirage by ippu do which is meant to be really good

love that beatniks record. haven't heard much moon riders stuff, what i've heard sounded like quirky devo-esque new wave. keiichi suzuki went on to do the beyond classic earthbound soundtrack for the snes

wavestation (r1o natsume), Friday, 25 June 2010 12:14 (nine years ago) link

superb record. bought it on a whim for a couple of bucks a few years ago. wasn't into the ymo i had heard up until that point (s/t, ∞ multiples) but bgm really hit me. in a way, it sounds more expansive and wide-ranging than other synth-pop of its time (i may not be schooled enough to really stand behind that claim).

9. Mass - Great sequencer sounds like Tangerine Dream from around the same time and the melodic line sounds an 80s retro-futurist version of the national anthem of some dictatorial country.

yeah, totally. it sounds like they're almost quoting the imperial death march at points. such a great, weird song.

i picked up naughty boys and service recently and have been really enjoying 'em both. wonderful, slightly strange-sounding pop. i also got bill nelson's a love that whirls and (not surprisingly) it has sort of the same vibe (lotsa layers and all sorts of different synth sounds swarming all over the place w/killer melodies)

cheers to all y'all for the recommendations (not that i'll likely be able to score physical copies of most of them) :)

hobbes, Friday, 25 June 2010 22:33 (nine years ago) link

xpost Yes! Rice Music is excellent. Tsuchiya is/was a hell of a guitar player. I wish Japan would've made an album with him before they split up. His guest playing with them on The Old Grey Whistle Test (or was it TOTP?) is awesome.

Listening to the Ai Ga Nakucha Ne album for the rhird time today as I type. "What's Got In Your Eyes?" is ... Aaaah!

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 26 June 2010 00:54 (nine years ago) link

hobbes - I found the Yano stuff for sale online but as super expensive import cd's (I'm in the US ). I went the BAD WAY and found them as free 128 mp3s easily enough on some weird Viet site.

¿Can Your Gato Do the Perro? (Capitaine Jay Vee), Saturday, 26 June 2010 00:59 (nine years ago) link

some of these records were released on major labels and were pressed up in quite large numbers, many finding their way over to the west. rice music for example always turns up on vinyl -- currently $5.00 and £4.45 on discogs. the sandii records as well can be found quite easily. i think the rule is, the more members of japan that feature, the more likely it is to turn up on vinyl

wavestation (r1o natsume), Saturday, 26 June 2010 10:50 (nine years ago) link

Exactly how popular are YMO in Japan itself? Cult hit? Mondo pop band?

earlnash, Sunday, 27 June 2010 04:34 (nine years ago) link

Solid State Survivor was the best selling album in Japan in 1980 (over a million copies if you combine LP and cassette sales), Multiplies and Public Pressure also topped the charts that year so they were pretty big then. BGM and Technodelic, however, were commercial suicide in comparison but still peaked at no. 2 and 4 respectively in the Oricon album charts. Their only singles that got in the top 10 were Technopolis (9), and Kimi ni Mune Kyun (2) which was a pretty big success. They played in Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on several occasions in 1980 and 1983, this was probably the biggest venue in the country at the time (it's where The Beatles played in 1966).

Zilog Jones, Sunday, 27 June 2010 21:35 (nine years ago) link

Gah, and here I thought no one would respond! Excellent comments and recommendations, guys. I've gotta finally track down Ippu-Do's stuff. I've read a lot about them but for some reason have never actually heard them. Time to remedy that.

The Bitter Tears of Petula Clark (corey), Saturday, 3 July 2010 21:32 (nine years ago) link

Maybe a tough proposition: Name some good post-1984 YMO-related stuff.

The Bitter Tears of Petula Clark (corey), Saturday, 3 July 2010 21:55 (nine years ago) link

i think ryuichi sakamoto's album Beauty from 89 (90?) is pretty nice. "We Love You" is a rolling stones song with robert wyatt and brian wilson singing on it

http://robotsinheat.com/temp/We%20Love%20You.mp3

jaxon, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 17:46 (nine years ago) link

^ awesome. thanks

jaxon, Friday, 16 July 2010 20:37 (nine years ago) link

http://rootstrata.com/rootblog/?p=3706

Fairlights, Mallets and Bamboo- Fourth-world Japan, years 1980-1986
By Spencer Doran

Haruomi Hosono – “Down to the Earth“ from Mercuric Dance
Ryuichi Sakamoto – “A Rain Song” from Esperanto
Mkwaju Ensemble – “Ki-Motion” from Ki Motion
Haruomi Hosono – “Air Condition” from Philharmony
Mariah – “Shisen” from Utakata no Hibi
Yasuaki Shimizu – “(Untitled Pieces for Bridgestone)” from Music for Commercials
Mkwaju Ensemble – “Lemore” from Mkwaju
Seigen Ono – “Mallets” from Seigen
Masahide Sakuma – “WINDOWS/Hi!!” from Masahide Sakuma
Geinoh Yamashirogumi – “Agba’a” from Africa Genjoh
Yasuaki Shimizu – “(Untitled Piece for Tachikawa)” from Music for Commercials
Danceries – “Grasshoppers” from End of Asia
Phew – “Closed” from Phew
Haruomi Hosono – “Windy Land” from The Endless Talking
YMO – “Loom” from BGM

jaxon, Friday, 16 July 2010 20:39 (nine years ago) link

Very nice, thanks.

the food has a top snake of 1 (ulillillia), Friday, 16 July 2010 20:40 (nine years ago) link

Brilliant mixes, many thanks!

disastrous sixth series (MaresNest), Friday, 16 July 2010 20:48 (nine years ago) link

yeah thanks alll

不合作的方式 (r1o natsume), Friday, 16 July 2010 21:11 (nine years ago) link

huh, that didn't work--damn you, nu-ilx: http://twitpic.com/5j8zs5

geeta, Friday, 8 July 2011 20:25 (eight years ago) link

YMO in the studio, early 1980s:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgkj7-VCmEw

geeta, Sunday, 17 July 2011 18:16 (eight years ago) link

I wish so hard for an "official" release of the SF show. I remember hearing a boot of Sketch Show playing "Gradated Gray" and it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard. Such an underrated tune.

frogbs, Tuesday, 26 July 2011 19:36 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

YMO as covered by... KEANE??

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A59Yps4pQq8

sweetántangó (clouds), Thursday, 6 December 2012 15:31 (six years ago) link

Not the weirdest cover when you consider Clapton did "Behind the Mask."

Naive Teen Idol, Saturday, 8 December 2012 05:33 (six years ago) link

idd

sweetántangó (clouds), Saturday, 8 December 2012 15:01 (six years ago) link

weirdest thing to me has gotta be that "behind the mask" almost made it onto thriller

original bgm, Saturday, 8 December 2012 20:23 (six years ago) link

...which got re-recorded by Phil Collins and sung by Eric Clapton. Point: Clapton's version.

Naive Teen Idol, Sunday, 9 December 2012 13:09 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

anyone seen the ridiculous "Kimi Ni Mune Kyun" video? really cheaply made but it's hilarious. i've never seen such miserable dancers!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HTyPPELmY0&feature=player_embedded

frogbs, Thursday, 17 January 2013 03:39 (six years ago) link

ha! that is really endearing.

original bgm, Thursday, 17 January 2013 20:07 (six years ago) link

Yeah I saw that a while ago, one of those clips that sums up exactly why I love a band so much.

Kitchen Person, Friday, 18 January 2013 05:58 (six years ago) link

i love how they apparently didn't even bother to do a second take on any of it, it's just so terribly made (then again, what videos in 1983 weren't?)

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2013 14:24 (six years ago) link

The Taiso video is pretty funny too.

MaresNest, Friday, 18 January 2013 16:18 (six years ago) link

hahhaa, forgot about this video. even the camera angle is terrible. kind of 3 feet above them, so it feels like you're watching your children doing the worst dance ever

Z S, Friday, 18 January 2013 16:26 (six years ago) link

i guess they were trying to play up the image of being "fun boys"

they should've change their name to fun boy 3

hypnotiQ tanqueray (clouds), Friday, 18 January 2013 16:37 (six years ago) link

possibly a stupid question, but what is the "fun boy" image?

Z S, Friday, 18 January 2013 16:40 (six years ago) link

you know — they are boys, they like to have fun

hypnotiQ tanqueray (clouds), Friday, 18 January 2013 17:00 (six years ago) link

it looks like they are being forced to have fun at gunpoint

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2013 17:02 (six years ago) link

I prefer YMO as waxy aliens meself.

MaresNest, Friday, 18 January 2013 17:04 (six years ago) link

its really kind of amazing how many radical changes in style these guys went through in the span of only 5 years

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2013 17:06 (six years ago) link

hahaha, sorry, i didn't know if "fun boys" was a japanese thing in the 80s or something

Z S, Friday, 18 January 2013 17:06 (six years ago) link

mei fun boys

hypnotiQ tanqueray (clouds), Friday, 18 January 2013 17:12 (six years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3JulFmtvgM

original bgm, Friday, 18 January 2013 20:40 (six years ago) link

the 'wild ambitions' video from the YMO movie is really awesome. just hosono and a kid, hangin, learnin thangs:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeMVSNTogG8

love the archery part!

cool alt. mix of the song too.

original bgm, Friday, 18 January 2013 20:42 (six years ago) link

awesome - that's definitely my favorite tune on Naughty Boys, an album that I think gets underrated in general.

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2013 22:29 (six years ago) link

yeah, agreed on naughty boys and "wild ambitions". but the album does get a little soggy in the middle imo!

original bgm, Friday, 18 January 2013 22:51 (six years ago) link

also, the 30 sec version of "you've got to help yourself" is hilarious

original bgm, Friday, 18 January 2013 22:52 (six years ago) link

it is but i'd love it if the real version were on there. i'm not too fond of Service. that said it doesn't need it...I don't feel it lags at all

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2013 23:06 (six years ago) link

yeah, service is easily their weakest.

as for naughty boys, they're not bad or anything, but I feel like "ongaku"/"opened my eyes"/"lotus love" are the low points of the album and bookended by better tracks.

original bgm, Friday, 18 January 2013 23:29 (six years ago) link

ongaku! the e-bow!

hypnotiQ tanqueray (clouds), Friday, 18 January 2013 23:43 (six years ago) link

Alright, I'll give you that one!

original bgm, Saturday, 19 January 2013 06:59 (six years ago) link

i like all three of those - "Ongaku" is gorgeous - but I have to say the new version they are doing of that as HASYMO knocks it out of the park
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFs880dNtmM

as for "Lotus Love", it's a real oddity, sort of downtempo in a weird way, as though it's about to fall apart at any time. it's also one I really like but I really dig it any time Hosono tries to write a pop song

frogbs, Saturday, 19 January 2013 17:00 (six years ago) link

"ongaku" is def better than I remembered. so, you guys got me there. but I can't say I prefer the HASYMO version. guess I'm just not really a fan of the smooth, glitched-out, old man YMO rearrangements. they always strike me as pleasant enough but not much more than that. I've never heard one I'd listen to over one of the original tracks

still think "opened my eyes" is not so hot (worst track on the album imo) and "lotus love" is decent and would sound cool if it played while I explored some ancient mine in a dragon quest game.

original bgm, Saturday, 19 January 2013 22:34 (six years ago) link

i like the old man YMO stuff! just not so much when they do actual YMO tunes, outside of "Ongaku" and "Gradated Gray". i will say that the Sketch Show/HASYMO era is so much different than what they did in the 80's that it's not really fair to compare them.

frogbs, Sunday, 20 January 2013 15:55 (six years ago) link

one year passes...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wqshDrNBaU

MaresNest, Sunday, 16 March 2014 17:13 (five years ago) link

eight months pass...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0laEwhW2vqw

happy end and 1000 knives sound esp. good in 8-bit mode

mrs. missus (clouds), Thursday, 4 December 2014 05:50 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

someone on the excellent kayokyoplus blog translated that weird middle section of "U-T":

Hosono: Hello, I'm your host, Haruomi Hosono. Appearing on the show today are Yellow Magic Orchestra's Yukihiro Takahashi and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Welcome gentlemen.

Takahashi: Thank you.

Sakamoto: Thank you.

Hosono: First, I'd like to ask Mr. Takahashi....do you know about U.T.?

Takahashi: Well, I know YT, but this is the first time to hear UT.

Hosono: Ah, really? Well, then, Mr. Sakamoto, what is the meaning of UT?

Sakamoto: Yes, that refers to super global existence.

Hosono: Oh, really? By the way, Mr. Takahashi's drumming on this song is amazing, isn't it?

Takahashi: Yes. It is amazing.

Hosono: Ohhhh....will you listen to this song on the "BGM"album?

Takahashi/Sakamoto: ARE YOU KIDDING?

frogbs, Wednesday, 20 January 2016 23:17 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

one weird fact about this album is that 8 of the 10 tracks are between 4:30-4:40 in length!! and the other two are 5:21 and 5:23 in length. very bizarre consistent total length, despite the tracks being anything but formulaic.

4:35 ballet
4:34 music plans
4:33 rap phenomena
4:33 happy end
5:23 1000 knives
4:33 cue
4:34 U T
4:35 camouflage
4:32 mass
5:21 loom

(track times via spotify)

both sides begin with 4-minute tracks and conclude with a 5-minute track.

anyway, weird.

Karl Malone, Monday, 16 July 2018 19:39 (one year ago) link

and really, i'm sure all of those track lengths could be a second or two off in either direction. were they trying to make them all 4'33?

*television voice*
next week, on YMO mysteries

Karl Malone, Monday, 16 July 2018 19:44 (one year ago) link

well spotted!

Paul, Tuesday, 17 July 2018 02:50 (one year ago) link

yea I noticed that too. pretty cool since a lot of those tunes have pretty rigid structures. feel like this album could really use a 33 1/3 book, it feels like there are so many stories behind it

frogbs, Tuesday, 17 July 2018 22:00 (one year ago) link

33 1/3 have started a Japan series and there's a YMO one on the way, not stated which rekkid yet though.

https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/series/33-13-japan/

MaresNest, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 19:49 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

_9. Mass - Great sequencer sounds like Tangerine Dream from around the same time and the melodic line sounds an 80s retro-futurist version of the national anthem of some dictatorial country._


yeah, totally. it sounds like they're almost quoting the imperial death march at points. such a great, weird song.


Somehow this song had escaped me all these years but agreed, this is a fabulous description. Not that I sit around listening to this sort of thing much but many nationalistic songs have a sort of earnest facelessness to them, where they sound very serious, heroic and deliberately composed yet as tunes are almost completely anonymous. “Mass” absolutely nails that – and I would be fascinated to know what the hell they were thinking when they wrote it.

Naive Teen Idol, Tuesday, 20 November 2018 14:41 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

Posted these on the Hosono thread, but a couple of YMO performances from the Hosono TV special that broadcast in Japan on 2nd January have appeared on Youtube. Includes Gen Hoshino guesting on Firecracker!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_EnF3xN3CA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpf0uehEJlM

bamboohouses, Wednesday, 16 January 2019 17:35 (seven months ago) link

awesome thanks!

clouds, Thursday, 17 January 2019 17:45 (seven months ago) link

six months pass...

Wow, excellent catch on 4'33! Surely it's a John Cage reference! B.ack G.round M.usic !

3×5, Friday, 19 July 2019 14:50 (four weeks ago) link

two weeks pass...

listening to this with a little 420 and holy hell does it sound weird. all those freaky vocal effects and strange lyrics about metaphysics. the massive amounts of reverb. all those sad, mangled melodies. the really uh...random sense of rhythm on a few tracks. even "Cue", a song I've heard performed a dozen times by a variety of artists, sounds particularly paranoid and disturbed here. I love this album but it's also sort of a nightmare isn't it?

frogbs, Sunday, 4 August 2019 04:42 (one week ago) link

Agreed. I recently started getting into YMO and find this a peculiarly compelling album in that I've played it more than any other this year despite not really falling in love with it. "Cue" sounds like the fading human element working to reconcile himself to life as grinding machine repetition, as if reminding himself that this was, after all, his aspiration.

eatandoph (Neue Jesse Schule), Sunday, 4 August 2019 19:01 (one week ago) link

BGM is really very unique. All the detuned sounds and strange arrangements -- I've rarely heard anything like it.

Yasuaki Shimizu was friends with Ryuichi Sakamoto, and apparently took a lot of notes. Lots of innovative, post-BGM production on stuff he did with Yumi Murata, Jimmy Murakawa or Kazumi Band.

I've also been listening to Shinobu Narita, who had two bands: 4-D and Urban Dance (1, 2). His stuff also blends catch pop melodies with these chromatic, detuned sounds and slightly dissonant accompaniment in places.

I know ILX prefers 80s YMO to late 70s, so I hope you guys like these recommendations.

3×5, Monday, 5 August 2019 20:36 (one week ago) link

Whoops, I linked to Urban Dance when I meant to link to Shinobu.

3×5, Monday, 5 August 2019 20:39 (one week ago) link


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