Susumu Yokota – Image 1983-1998 (Leaf, 1999)

Susumu Yokota
Image 1983-1998

CD Leaf BAY 9 CD (UK, 09-1999)

01. Kaiten Mokuba
02. Tayutafu
03. Fukuro No Yume
04. Wani Natte
05. Sakashima
06. Morino Gadukan
07. Nisemono No Uta
08. Daremoshiranai Chiisanakuni
09. Kawano Hotorino Kinoshitade
10. Yumekui Kobito
11. Amai Niyoi
12. Enogu
13. Amanogawa

Susumu Yokota has earned praise for his super-funky blend of house, techno, disco, jazz and breaks, with releases on Japan’s Sublime Records, among others. « [He] has more ideas in the space of one album than most house producers have in their entire careers » said Mixmag of 1999, his most recent album on Sublime.
The Leaf Label has licensed Image 1983-1998, a collection of mainly acoustic and oddly moving instrumental and vocal pieces from Yokota’s own Skintone label. It’s a very personal project, representing a very different side to his musical persona to the one you may already be aware of. Five of the tracks were recorded with guitars and organs in 1983-4, the remainder were inspired by those songs and were recorded in 1997-8. There are already another two Skintone albums ready to go, both in very different styles. Yokota is proving increasingly difficult to pin down, which can only be a good thing as far as we’re concerned.
Already synonymous with dance music in Japan, Yokota first attracted worldwide attention back in ’92 with Frankfurt-Tokyo Connection on Harthouse. Since then he has enjoyed a prolific career as both a DJ and recording artist, working under a host of pseudonyms, including 246, Ringo and Prism (for Sublime and Reel Musiq) and Stevia’ (for NSCom).

This fascinating collection of wayward instrumentals reveals an entirely different side to this exceedingly talented experimentalist. Reaching as far back as 1983, Images draws on the most minimal of Yokota’s decidedly minimalist canon, highlighting stark solo compositions that often subsist on nothing but a beautifully stated coda and some very pregnant pauses. With its carnivalesque strut and gauzy, distant tones, opener « Kaiten Mokuba » sets the languid pace; the impossibly delicate acoustic strains of « Tayutafu » follow and the broken-toy mangle of « Fukuro No Yume » comes after that. In accordance with the album’s chronological sequence, Yokota’s work becomes more intricate over time, but none of the tracks here ever veer from this album’s implicit schema: deceptively simple melodies, Steve Reich-like repetition, and a penchant for organic, cloud-covered instrumentation. Intoxicating. (Mark Pytlik, All Music Guide)

FR A sa sortie, cet objet sonore avait été une vraie surprise, Susumu Yokota étant jusque là surtout connu pour des choses orientées deep house. A côté de ça, il créait donc ces miniatures aussi singulières que fascinantes, les plus anciennes n’étant pas les moins étonnantes. Dix ans plus tard, ça reste un des sommets de sa discographie (j’aimerais en dire autant de son petit dernier Kaleidoscope, malheureusement je n’en pense pas grand chose – et c’est mauvais signe).
ENG The keyword here is ‘fascinating’. One of the best albums in Yokota’s vast discography, and a very singular collection of miniatures that sound like nothing else.

Visit Susumu Yokota (and here) or Leaf

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