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Yellow Magic Orchestra

The trailblazing force behind the emergence of the Japanese techno-pop sound of the late '70s, Yellow Magic Orchestra remains a seminal influence on contemporary electronic music -- hugely popular both at home and abroad, their pioneering use of synthesizers, sequencers and drum machines places them second only to Kraftwerk as innovators of today's electronic culture. YMO was formed in Tokyo in 1978 by keyboardist Ryuichi Sakamoto, who at the time was working on his debut solo LP; among his collaborators was drummer Yukihiro Takahashi, himself also a solo performer as well as a member of the art rock group the Sadistic Mika Band. The third member, bassist Haruomi Hosono, boasted an even more impressive discography, including four solo records as well as a number of production credits.

Agreeing to join forces as Yellow Magic Orchestra, the trio soon debuted with a self-titled LP influenced largely by the robotic iconography of Germany's Kraftwerk; 1979's Solid State Survivor heralded a quantum leap in their sound, with stronger songs and a more focused use of electronic tools, complete with English lyrics by Chris Mosdell. While 1980's Xoo Multiplies was at best a mixed bag including comedy skits and two different covers of the Archie Bell & the Drells classic "Tighten Up," Public Pressure captured YMO performing live. Their two 1981 releases, BGM and Technodelic, both delved deeper into synth pop, exploring new stylistic territory anticipating the individual musicians' subsequent solo projects. Service, from 1983, again offered skits, this time courtesy of the theatrical troupe S.E.T.

Following the ambitious Naughty Boys and another live record, After Service, Yellow Magic Orchestra disbanded at the peak of their popularity, with its members wishing to revive their respective solo careers. Sakamoto enjoyed the highest visibility of the YMO alumni -- a noted film composer, he gained his greatest exposure co-writing the Academy Award-winning score to the 1987 film The Last Emperor. Hosono also pursued film music as well as ambient projects, while Takahashi enjoyed an eclectic and experimental return to his rock roots. By the 1990s, YMO was cited regularly as a pioneer of ambient house music, resulting in the release of the remix album Hi-Tech/No Crime. The original trio then reunited in 1993, recording the LP Technodon before again going their separate ways. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: UC YMO: Ultimate Collection Of Yellow Magic Orchestra

Disc 1

1. Computer Game

2. Firecracker

3. Tong Poo

4. La Femme Chinoise

5. Technopolis

6. Insomnia

7. Rydeen

8. Behind The Mask

9. Solid State Survivor

11. Jingle "Y.M.O."

12. Nice Age

14. The End Of Asia

15. Citizens Of Science

Disc 2

1. Cue

2. Ballet

3. U.T

4. Gradated Grey

5. Taiso

8. Chaos Panic

9. Ongaku

10. Lotus Love

13. The Madmen

15. Perspective

x

Track List: Naughty Boys & Instrumental

1. Kimi Ni Mune Kyun

2. Expected Way

3. Focus

4. Ongaku

5. Opened My Eyes

6. You've Got To Help Yourself

7. Lotus Love

8. Kai-Koh

9. Expecting Rivers

10. Wild Ambitions

x

Track List: Technodelic

1. Pure Jam

2. Neue Tanz

3. Stairs

4. Seoul Music

5. Light In Darkness

6. Taiso

7. Gradated Grey

8. Key

9. Prologue

10. Epilogue

x

Track List: BGM

1. Ballet

2. Music Plans

3. Rap Phenomena

4. Happy End

5. 1000 Knives

6. Cue

7. U-T

8. Camouflage

9. Mass

10. Loom

x

Track List: XOO Multiplies

1. Jingle "Y.M.O."

2. Nice Age

4. Tighten Up (Japanese Gentlemen Stand Up Please!)

6. Here We Go Again - Tighten Up

8. Citizens Of Science

x

Track List: Solid State Survivor

1. Technopolis

2. Absolute Ego Dance

3. Rydeen

4. Castalia

5. Behind The Mask

6. Day Tripper

7. Insomnia

8. Solid State Survivor

x

Track List: Yellow Magic Orchestra

Disc 1

1. Computer Game "Theme From The Circus"

2. Firecracker

3. Simoon

4. Cosmic Surfin'

5. Computer Game "Theme From The Invader"

6. Yellow Magic (Tong Poo)

7. La Femme Chinoise

8. Bridge Over Troubled Music

9. Mad Pierrot

Disc 2

1. Computer Game "Theme From The Circus"

2. Fire Cracker

3. Simoon

4. Cosmic Surfin'

5. Computer Game "Theme From The Invader"

6. Tong Poo

7. La Femme Chinoise

8. Bridge Over Troubled Music

9. Mad Pierrot

10. Acrobat

Comments

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I LOVE THIS SONG
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While they are Nowhere near as good and influential as Kraftwerk, this band is great and very entertaining .
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ezrafike98
This must be the ugliest piece of bread Ive ever eaten.
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This music has so much feeling
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herlucita2
i love this musica (spanish)!
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the vocals of this song remind me of Peter Gabriel on 'So.'
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mbemadar
I love YMO! My favorite song is "Firecracker " . It brings back so many best memories of my life in NY. Peace!
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YMO recently reunited a couple of years ago under the pseudonym Human Audio Sponge (or HASYMO), released a couple of singles and toured Japan a few times, with a more stripped-dow n , electro-acou s t i c sound. Also performed at the Live Earth concert segment in Japan in 2007.
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frankpmann
Yeah!!!!!!
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traiskin
Just listening to the song "Ballet" one can hear the influence YMO had on a number of electronic acts of the 80s, 90s, and onward. A lot of Chicago House DJs site them as an influence as well. One of my favorites.
Report as inappropriate
chitwood.and r e w
awesome. just awesome.

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