Ambient Japan (1981-2004)

3. March 2021

The use of colourful sounding electronics is characteristic for a lot of Japanese ambient music from the Eighties, as is a certain sense of order. The clear layouts somewhat resemble the concept of the countries’ traditional gardens. Both are free of artificial ornamentation, well balanced, and designed with love for detail.

51 minutes of music striving to enhance environments – with works by Haruomi Hosono, Inoyama Land, Masahiro Sugaya, Yasuaki Shimizu and others.

Featured cover art: The Beatniks – Exitentialism

Yasuaki Shimizu – Yuki

from Shimizu’s installation at the horticultural show Pacific Flora, premising silence as the source of all sound (2004, Invitation)

Hiroshi Yoshimura – Something Blue

aquatic minimalism from the ambient pioneer who also created soundscapes for art museums and train stations (1986, Misawa Home)

Yoshio Ojima – Sealed

evolving environmental sounds for Tokyo’s Wacoal Art Center aka Spiral, designed according to the principles of metabolism, and completed in 1985 (1988, Wacoal Art Center / Re: We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records)

Masahiro Sugaya – Future Green

warm and elegant sounds for the dream-like stage set of The Pocket Of Fever, realized by Tokyo’s experimental theatre group Pappa Tarahumara (1987, Empire of Signs)

Ryuichi Sakamoto – A Carved Stone

from the soundtrack for Molissa Fenley’s dance performance Esperanto (1985, School / Re: Wewantsounds)

Inoyama Land – Pokala

heralding video game music, this is ambient pop (1983, Yen Records / Re: We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records)

The Beatniks – Le Sang Du Poete

dramatic and deep pop, rooted in strangeness (1981, Vap)

Yellow Magic Orchestra – Loom

focused on atmosphere and mood, the highly influential band explores the concept of background music (1981, Alfa)

Masahide Sakuma – Berlinner

a new wave musician’s go at ambient grounds (1984, JVC)

Haruomi Hosono – Kechigan

from the soundtrack for the animation picture The Tale Of Genji, based on what’s considered to be the world’s first novel, written by Lady Murasaki Shikibu about 1000 AD (1987, Epic/Sony)

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