Future Japan – Technopop (1979-86)

10. August 2021

Fuelled by cutting-edge music technology, Yellow Magic Orchestra connect loose ends from pop, dance music, and Far Eastern folklore during the late 1970s. Shortly afterwards, the concept becomes synonymous with technopop in Japan.

Despite stopping to work together as a band in 1984, YMO‘s members keep on occuring in each others solo recordings and also in a never ending list of cooperations with other musicians. Frequently, technology gets used as a vehicle for cultural exchange in these productions. 49 minutes with Apogee & Perigee, Friends Of Earth, Miharu Koshi, Ryuichi Sakamoto & The Kakutougi Session and others.

Featured cover art: Apogee & Perigee ‎– 月世界旅行

Ryuichi Sakamoto & The Kakutougi Session – Gonna Go To I Colony

together with an all-star lineup, Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Ryuichi Sakamoto challenges the idea of reggae in a colourful way as he’s heading for a far away place – the I (1979, CBS/Sony)

Yasuaki Shimizu – Semi Tori No Hi

built around a mysterious vocal loop and a minimal drum figure, Shimizu is blending ambient with elements from jazz and Japanese folk (1982, Better Days / Re: We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want Records)

Imitation – Exotic Dance

NYC based drummer Steve Scales and singer Dolette McDonald join the Japanese wave band for a record of playful pop – it offers one side for optimists and one for pessimists (1982, Kitty Records / Re: HMV Record Shop)

Yellow Magic Orchestra – Pure Jam

working with a custom-built digital sampler the atmospheric and weird tracks on the album Technodelic foreshadow the potential of constructing music from loops (1981, Alfa)

Testpattern – Ring Dance

light and visionary synth pop that’s as catchy as minimal – produced by YMO’s Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi (1982, Yen Records)

Miharu Koshi – L’amour…ou ironie noire

having started to play the piano aged three and to compose only five years later, Koshi was in charge of all but one track on her debut LP for Yen Records – production credits, however, are due to her long-term partner Haruomi Hosono (1983, Yen Records)

Masumi Hara – Doncha of the Moon and Stars

the multi-media and falsetto artist seems to suggest a combination of post-fermented tea from Korea (doncha) and space here – or not? (1984, Yupiteru Records / RE: Numero Group)

The Beatniks – No Way Out

Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Yukihiro Takahashi and Keiichi Suzuki describe the feeling of being stuck in a cul-de-sac (1981, Vap)

Friends Of Earth – In My Jungle

Haruomi Hosono’s first post-YMO band is a supergroup featuring international stars like James Brown and Maceo Parkerhere, they‘re combining funk and techno (1986, Non-Standard)

Apogee & Perigee – Shinkuu Kiss

the happy world of being in love, transformed into over the top technopop by a collaborative effort of Testpattern, Haruomi Hosono, and others – sung by Jun Togawa (1984, Yen Records)

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