I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Yellow Magic Orchestra -- Yellow Magic Orchestra

When it comes to YMO albums, usually the first to come to mind is 1979's "Solid State Survivor". I will get to that one, but here I want to introduce the very first album the band released in 1978. Released as "Yellow Magic Orchestra", this was my very first purchase of any LP/tape in Japan back in 1981. I was on my graduation trip and had a chance to listen to it on the new cherry-red double-cassette recorder that I'd bought from SONY in my room at The Tokyo Prince Hotel in downtown Tokyo.

I'd actually first heard "Firecracker" via the music video on "Japanese Panorama", which was a show on the multicultural channel here in Toronto back in the late 70s and 80s. I was struck by this quasi-Japanese melody done in a poppy way through synthesizers. And the video was cutting-edge CG for that time. The album started with computer game music, specifically from "The Circus"which got me a bit suspicious at first, but then "Firecracker"segued in and all was right with the world again.

Should give credit where credit is due where "Firecracker" is concerned since the original version was by Martin Denny back in 1959. YMO may have influenced a lot of artists and genres, but the band itself was influenced by Denny.

Of course, there were the other hits such as "Tong Poo", "La Femme Chinoise" and "Cosmic Surfin". However, the track after "Firecracker"was the exotic "Simoon" which reminds me of Old Hollywood's musical take on going through the African heartland. The vocals were provided by Harry Hosono.

The other track that seems to get left behind when it comes to their Best Hits packages is "Mad Pierrot" with vocals also provided by Hosono. I've finally listened to it after several years, and it just sounds amazing. I've finally been able to appreciate all the different layers that went into this song alone!

As for the album's success, compared to "Solid State Survivor" which went to the top of the charts, the inaugural album for YMO did a more modest 69th place.

Thanks to J-Wiki and Wiki.

(August 20 2018...I wrap up things on the album here).

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