Susumu Yokota - Image 1983 - 1998

Album cover

  1. Kaiten Mokuba (1:58)
  2. Tayutafu (2:42)
  3. Fukuro No Yume (2:44)
  4. Wani Natte (2:42)
  5. Sakashima (3:11)
  6. Morino Gakudan (3:28)
  7. Nisemono No Uta (2:00)
  8. Daremoshiranai Chiisuanakuni (2:25)
  9. Kawano Hotorino Kinoshitade (2:31)
  10. Yumekui Kobito (1:34)
  11. Amai Niyoi (2:55)
  12. Enogu (3:03)
  13. Amanogawa (3:12)

Leaf, 1999

This compilation of little instrumentals from the prolific Japanese electronic producer flits with a childlike short attention span from one minimalist fragment to another. It seems to follow the title's chronological order, getting increasingly more musically and technologically sophisticated. The early stuff is pure sound experiments, with just a single processed organ grind or a gentle melody on a mildly effected guitar. These can make uncomfortable listening, like the fairground waltz gone wrong of "Kaiten Mokuba", seeming childish instead of childlike.

The first glimpse of the grown-up Susumu is on "Morino Gakudan", where he shows that he's at his best when weaving melodies together, rather than concentrating on one single effect at a time. There's plenty of the kind of softly intertwined looping that made his name on the subtly brilliant "Sakura". And throughout the rest of the compilation flashes of his surreal imagination reveal themselves. Various nutty sampled voices manage to both give an other-worldly touch and a mischievous friendliness (a distincly Japanese trait). Such as the "I am what I am" that slinks around the downtempo "Nisemono No Uta", and the stoned la-laing on "Enogu" that finally adds some interest to that plain old distorted organ.

June 26, 2006

6 out of 10

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written and maintained by Christopher Jackson