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Yellow Magic Orchestra: Yellow Magic Orchestra

Album Reviews:

Uncut (3/04, p.108) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[G]alvanising, unabashed, floppy-haired '80s pop, all big hooks and tumbling, boxy electro-rhythms..."

Mojo (Publisher) (3/04, p.115) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[With] breathtaking flights of melodic fantasy and speedy percussive insanity..."

Album Notes

The groundbreaking Japanese electronic music trio Yellow Magic Orchestra initially caused few ripples of excitement when its debut album--complete with computer game bleeps and arch synthesizer renditions of faux-Oriental musical themes set to pointedly fake-sounding R&B rhythms--was released in 1978. The western music cognoscenti were still trying to accommodate the seismic artistic shifts of punk rock.

But in retrospect these purposefully plastic-sounding tracks, particularly the eastern cadences and synthetic funk of "Firecracker," the jazz-fusion of "Tong Poo," and the grinding, George Clinton-influenced "Simoon," foreshadow much of the European electronica-based dance music of the 1980s and '90s, including Depeche Mode, New Order, and the Human League. In addition, the band's fetish for the idiosyncratic sounds of popular computer games of the day demonstrates its perceptive realization that future listeners would one day view these seemingly insignificant sonic twitches as an important part of their formative years.


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