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.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Akiko Yano -- Ashkenazy Who?

Ashkenazy who? Yep, that wasn't only a query from me but also the title of this track from Akiko Yano's(矢野顕子)5th album "Tadaima."(ただいま。)from 1981.

The only time that I heard anything resembling that first word was also a part of a title of one of the more vital episodes of the original "X-Files". However, the truth out there is actually much more grounded on Earth, since singer-songwriter Yano's aim was to devote her song to pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy, originally from Russia but now an Icelandic resident.

I couldn't find out the inspiration for the song although the lyrics point to some love for the man's talent. In any case, if someone who had never heard of Yano before but was interested in her work asked me about her, then this would be one song that I would introduce since for me, Yano will forever be that singer who had her own corner of technopop in the early 1980s. Moreover, "Ashkenazy Who?" has those Yano tropes: a melody going its own whimsical way and her breathy voice peppered with her vocal effects. I think it almost strays into Taeko Ohnuki(大貫妙子)territory from that time.

Listening to "Ashkenazy Who?", I wonder whether there will ever be anything like this sort of music again as I realized that there would only ever be one Akiko Yano. Still, wouldn't it be interesting to have this sort of technopop again which doesn't need to be played at an EDM rave?

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