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Yellow Magic Orchestra - Yellow Magic Orchestra CD (album) cover


Yellow Magic Orchestra


Progressive Electronic

3.78 | 48 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A promising orchestra

"Yellow Magic Orchestra" is one of the first synth-pop albums, mixing the then nascent pre-techno music of KRAFTWERK with prehistoric video-game sonorities, exotic and Asian melodies. For their debut album, the band were already very creative and innovative at the time, as such musical marriages were entirely new for the the late 70's. Once said, how does it look like?

The two "Computer Game" pieces are fun short compilations of ancient computer and console games sounds, with a few known themes. The playful KRAFTWERK-ian "Firecracker" is in fact a cover the orientalist composition of the same name by Martin Denny. Cool and refreshing. Even if the chosen electronic sonorities contrast a little with the voluptuous ambiance and the jazzy piano, the strange "Simoon" remains enjoyable. However, the tropical "Cosmic Surfin'" is the best track of the record. A fruity electronic energetic tune, with a bass sounding a bit hip-hop!

"Tong Poo" comes in fact from a Chinese song created during the China's cultural revolution. It pre-dates 80's synth-pop and may have inspired eighties' French pop band RITA MITSOUKO. Concerning the robotic and naive "La Femme Chinoise", this track may have influenced this time VISAGE for their well-known hit single "Fade to Grey", with its pre-new wave sonorities and French spoken words. "Bridge Over Troubled Music" is just an ambient transition for the futuristic "Mad Pierrot". An uneven composition, with varied synthesizer sounds.

Compared to the rest of the disc, the bonus track "Acrobat" is rather optional.

"Yellow Magic Orchestra" is a joyful and colorful album in the nascent electronic musical landscape of the late 70's, containing many different ideas that will be reused in the next decade. The music have influenced different styles, such as video-game music, Detroit Techno, hip-hop or even maybe modern experimental electro-pop bands such as STEREOLAB for example. With their first effort, YMO were already considered as pionneers, presenting an Asian and fun response to KRAFTWERK.

An essential listen for synth-pop and vintage computer music lovers, or if you just want a refreshing and original cocktail of various ingredients.

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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