Last updated 05.3.01
(*) means I don't own this album and haven't listened to it.
(@) means I don't own this album but have listened to it.
thanks to RG for the loan of some material!
Sato is a star multimedia artist. A 30+ minute audio CD of traditionally tinged trance plus another Macintosh CD-ROM of Quicktime animations. Both are short enough to fit on one disc, but the price on it seems quite fair so it doesn't matter.
Fantastic Orb-like stuff. Great production. Highly reccomended --if you can find it. A combo of "remixed tracks" and original tracks. 2 tracks co-composed with Sakamoto. Remixes by Luke Vibert, Tony Morley, Future Sound of London, Hotoda and others.
Check out his site! (in English)
and a project with his work (in Japanese) www.mao2.net
S.E.T. is a comedy ensemble. The album was produced by Yukihiro Takahashi, who also composes music for it. The set up is spoken in English and the punch line is in Japanese for this sort of parody of a documentary report. I didn't find it very interesting as a whole. Many of the songs make for good listening on their own. Not as funny as Snakeman Show who worked with YMO earlier.
these musical numbers are by Yukihiro Takahashi with various lyricists:
(@)1985 NonStandard 15NS-1005
4 song EP
1986 NonStandard 28NS-12, PCD-1331(P-Vine reissue with "Do Do Do")
Band led by Seji Toda with vocalist/keyboardist Mari Fukuhara. His next band was Fairchild. Yoshifumi Iio was the programmer
Jerry Leibowitz: Shi-Shonen was formed in 1982 with Seiji Toda, Shingo Tomoda, Hitoshi Watanabe and were later joined by Mari. At the same time, Real Fish (the group in which members of Shi-Shonen take part) was formed, mainly through live performances. After releasing two singles in 1983, they met Haruomi Hosono and participated in Hosono's Non-Standard label.
While not a "synth band" this much loved all woman band from Osaka uses plenty of them on their just released in Japan new album Strawberry Sound (with cover art by Rodney Greenblat who contributes stuff to this site!). Also a few years back a pair of Japanese remix abums feature many international synth playing favorites, even Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The best place to start checking them out is the Shonen Knife NeXuS, which is a U.S. fan page with plenty of links and the band's blessing
Snakeman Show is a comedy ensemble who often use the musical talents of YMO and friends.
The Plastics appear as The Crap Heads on a track.
Y. Takahashi track: Konnichi koi ga
There are a number of Snakeman Show albums. My info is not very complete.
Paul Rymer says there is a Sheena track on this one.
D. Higgins: This comedy group worked with YMO. This disc contains cool remixes of Replicant JB, Paraiso and Mr. Summertime by Hosono. Hajime Tachibana, YMO, Sandii And The Sunsetz and Laura Palmer's Theme by Something Wonderful are also present in remixed form.
includes mixes of the same track by CMJK and Alec Empire. Okay techno rock sound with kind of ugly vocals. The CMJK mix goes faux Arabic and Indian fairly amusingly. I haven't thought much of the couple Empire mixes I've heard, but this one with robot voices is impressive.
(@) 99.11.21 Transonic cd: TFCC-87624, U.S.# ?
A substantial synth filled retro lounge album made up of tracks recorded by this 4 member all keyboard band between 1986 and 1993. Loads of fun, not much of a groove though but full of great sounds. Mint Lee does the arrangements and Kimitaka Matsume who's all over the synth scent these days is also a member. Extra credit for some Tati soundtrack covers with some Bacharach snuck in. It got a U.S. release in 2000.
92.8.21 Alfa/Edge cd: ALCA-367
The cover art is an interestingly designed constructivist series of 20th century modern architecture photos in the large fold open booklet. While certainly proficent, this seems like something more for those who already appreciate Soft Ballet than someone wanting to hear some of their work. Future P-MODEL member Wataru Kamiryo is the 2nd drummer for this live show.
This is th only overseas released Soft Ballet album I know of. It's all remixes at that! They disbanded in the mid 90s. This remix contains an excellent Black Dog remix and all in all is quite worthwhile. Designer's Republic did the artwork. Other remixes are by Autechre, Ian Tregoning, Reload, Greg Hunter, Carl Craig. This album also saw a japanese release. I don't have info on track changes if any on the Hapanese version.
Link to SOFT BALLET page
Something Wonderful is the project of Kay Nakayama.
He's produced a various artists remix of Hosono and the Beatniks
Chilscape compilations are done by him
3 cover versions of the Badalamenti theme and an original TWIN PEAKS inspired tune by Kay Nakayama. Hosono produced. Fun, but not as drole and loungey as the real OST. Out of print.
Jumbientic1996 VAP cd: VPCC-84410
Features Sandii on one track. Ambient material.
(*)1999? Chilscape CSCD-2010
He plays the ocarina. Somewhat in the Kitaro genre. He has a number of albums.
(@) 00.2.19 Pacific Moon CHCB-10020 (PMR-0020) US distributed
She is a vocalist/composer who's also done a lot of session work. Her voice is heavily multilayered and processed in a manner similar to Enya though the actual songs are in a variety of Pacific Rim styles so the result is interesting and definitely in the New Age vein.
1996 pop narcotic (U.S.) cd: NARC015
Seems to be live material (or maybe 2 studio tracks 4 live? They do a cover by the Young Marbele Giants (n.i.t.a.) and one by the Flaming Lips (turn it on). I initially didn't list this on my site because its all a guitar wash but a later album below has extensive electronics.
1998 World Domination (U.S.) cd: wdm 10085-2
They are band with a duo core of shin'ichi ogawa on guitar and chinatsu shoyama singing vocals and here they have 3 more musicians in the band. I remember reading something about their living very near an actual sugar refinery. They seem to be indie scene in Japan though I guess their unique approach seemed to be they spent a lot of time with the U.S. indie scene. This release is like a pair of EPs. While a past effort I heard was very much soft vocals with many guitar layers washes -these 2 coupled EPs seem to begin sounding like laid back electronica and then settle into simpler dreamy pop with less electronica. One might say the electronica is a sugar coating not that the smooth reverb filled melodic songs with lots of self sung wordless backing vocals are difficult to swallow. Then when I thought I had their dreamy pop roots sort of pinned down I realize they've drifted into quiet Brian Eno style instrumental.
Rene van Breugel writes: 2 albums of music composed for a TV documentary series about the Arctic - the music is a little similar to what Vangelis did for a similar project - melodic and atmospheric synths falling somewhere between the work of Kitaro and Vangelis.
Nick writes: I've listened to the first one (thanks Vasco!). It struck me as a sort of something for everyone soundtrack in terms of different tracks having different though not clashing styles. Certain compositional factors linked them but whenenever I thought he's doing some sort of genre the next track would be a fairly different style. The different sty;es might perplex but I'm fairly confident most everyone will find a few tracks to their liking.
I'm not familiar with the artist (note that this is not by the more famous synthesist Ryuichi Sakamoto). The packaging and same CD label of at least the first volume does look similar to some editions of the Vangelis CD. The Vangelis film "Antarctica" by the way is like a adventure film about dogs trapped in the Antarctic, BTW, the Vangelis score is not from a documentary series. The Vangelis filmwas a huge theatrical hit in the early 1980s.
Nice packaging. Synth bleeps, drum loops, guitar, male lead, female backing vocals. Okay mix of electronica and J-Pop sounds.
Yukihiro Takahashi produced with a variation of the Murdered by the Music sound. This is one of those albums where YMO is the backing band. Tunes and performances by the entire gang! Takahashi, Hosono, Sakamoto, Tachibana, Kenji Ohmura (Co-Producer), Keiichi Suzuki, Makoto Kubota, and Matsutake sequencing. Weird EQ. Sometimes the music overpowers the vocals, but who could argue with a band and guest list like the above. Reissued in 2005 as part of The Complete Susan
A protoge of Yukihiro Takahashi. Takahashi produced. Hosono, Tachibana, Matsutake, Kato, Ohmura, Tsuchiya, Sandii contributing.
Jun Okamoto put together this list of Susan singles and has some more info on his page.
(*) 2005 Sony Music House
1. Modern Flowers In A Boot
2. "24,000回のキッス "
3. Dream Of You (single 1980 UK Epic)
4. Do You Believe In Magic?
5. Ah! Soka
6. Freezin' Fish Under The Moonlight (Eatin' My Eackbone)
7. Glass Girl
8. It's No Time For You To Cry
1. You're My Number One
5. I Need Your Love
6. I Only Come Out At Night (single 1981 UK Epic)
7. Go Go
8. Nuit De Saint-Germain （サンジェルマンの夜）
9. Tokyo Sue
10. My Love
11. モダン・ワールド (Multi-Modern World) Takahashi
12. サマルカンド大通り(Samarukando Ohdori) Takahashi
Part of the Music Interior series of quiet instrumentals. Pleasant synth work. It's a shame the series never caught on. When I caught the UK imports they were aleady going out of print.
2003 Tzadik (US) TZ 7240
This compilation collects all 3 albums andEPs dating 1987, 1990 and 1995, by this duo. Hitomi Shimizu plays a 43 note to the octave organ or synth and Hiromi Nishida plays mostly violin and occasionally instruments like zither. They both sing and have some backing musicians. The rather strange use of the Harry Partch scale tuned keyboard makes more sense as the violin is played Egyptian style so the tuning won't work given a standard keyboard.The style ranges from middle eastern to lounge to new wave. I was expecting it to be even more unusual but I for one kind of "got it" some of the way in and thought occasionally that it would be even more interesting if the music, unusual as it is was even more out there sometimes to contrast more.
Tzadik, John Zorn's label who specialize in mostly new music improv also released album of live recordings prior to this one, it's supposedly better, not that this one is bad. I've not gotten a chance toi listen.
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