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YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA

Progressive Electronic • Japan


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Yellow Magic Orchestra biography
YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA is a Japanese-techno-art-pop group. Icons in Japan and the rest of the world, YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA are highly innovative and influencing in the world of electronics, similar to KRAFTWERK. Their use of sequencing, drum programming and synths were put to very broad use, making very arty, technological, and sophisticated mechanical music. The band was formed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, who collaborated with Yukihiro Takahashi who was a solo drummer, and worked with the art rock group THE SADISTIC MIKA BAND. The bassist Haroumi Hosono, had four solo albums and was a prolific producer. As soon as they all agreed to form YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA, the albums started coming out, and the influence of KRAFTWERK combined with a signature flair, and innovative electronics, took off. Synth pop started to become somewhat of a classification for them, but they never dropped the proggy sophistication. The band split up in the mid 80's, which was their peak of commercial acceptance. The members went on to produces signature music and some of them scoring films. A small reunion happened in 1993.

The bands most notable albums are "Technodelic", "Naughty Boys", and especially "Solid State Survivor".

If you're into Progressive Electronic or KRAFTWERK, these guys could be a great listen for you.


Why this artist must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
Second to Kraftwerk in Progressive Electronic innovation in Japan.


Discography:
Yellow Magic Orchestra (1978)
Solid State Survivor (1979)
Public Pressure (1980)
Xoo Multiplies (1980)
BGM (1981)
Technodelic (1981)
Naughty Boys (1983)
Service (1983)
After Service (1984)
Sealed (1985)
12 Remixes (1990)
Best Selection (1990)
YMO in the '90s: The Pete Lorimar Remix (1990)
YMO Mega Mix (1990)
Faker Holic (1991)
4 CD Box Set (1992)
Kyoretsu Na Rhythm (1992)
The Best of Yellow Magic Orchestra (1992)
The Tong Poo Remixes (1992)
Hi-Tech/No Crime: Yellow Magic Orchestra Reconstructed (1993)
Technodon (1993)
Xoo Multiplies Return (1998)
Go Home! The Complete Best of the Yellow Magic Orchestra (2000)
YMO Remixes: Technopolis 2000-00 (2001)
UC YMO: Ultimate Collection of Yellow Magic Orchestra (2003)
Zosyoku (2003)

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After ServiceAfter Service
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$9.21
$9.20 (used)
TechnodelicTechnodelic
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$6.22
$15.77 (used)
BgmBgm
Import
Music on CD 2013
Audio CD$6.58
$6.59 (used)
Technodon Remixes I + ObiTechnodon Remixes I + Obi
EMIMUSIC JAPAN
Audio CD$20.26
$4.21 (used)
YMO Remixes Technopolis 2000-01YMO Remixes Technopolis 2000-01
Import
Victor 1999
Audio CD$33.42
$5.42 (used)
Public PressurePublic Pressure
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$6.22
$6.21 (used)
Solid State SurviverSolid State Surviver
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$6.22
$6.21 (used)
ServiceService
Import
Imports 2015
Audio CD$6.22
$6.21 (used)
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YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA shows & tickets


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YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 27 ratings
Yellow Magic Orchestra
1978
2.88 | 26 ratings
Solid State Survivor
1979
2.98 | 15 ratings
Xoo Multiplies
1980
3.90 | 11 ratings
BGM
1981
3.93 | 23 ratings
Technodelic
1981
2.42 | 8 ratings
Naughty Boys
1983
2.80 | 5 ratings
Service
1983
2.80 | 5 ratings
Naughty Boys Instrumental
1983
2.80 | 5 ratings
Technodon
1993

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Live At Kinokuni-Ya Hall 1978
1979
3.50 | 4 ratings
Public Pressure
1980
2.13 | 4 ratings
After Service
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
Faker Holic
1991
3.00 | 2 ratings
Technodon Live
1993
3.00 | 1 ratings
Winter Live - 1981
1995
3.50 | 2 ratings
Live At Greak Theater 1979
1997

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Best Selection
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Kyoretsu Na Rhythm
1992
3.00 | 1 ratings
Hi-Tech/No Crime: Yellow Magic Orchestra Reconstructed
1993
3.00 | 1 ratings
Xoo Multiplies Return
1998
2.00 | 2 ratings
Go Home! The Complete Best of the Yellow Magic Orchestra
2000
2.00 | 1 ratings
YMO Remixes: Technopolis 2000-00
2001

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Solid State Survivor by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.88 | 26 ratings

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Solid State Survivor
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Whilst their contemporaries Kraftwerk were pioneering an icy-cool brand of synthpop suitable for robots and cyborgs, Yellow Magic Orchestra's second album finds them examining ways in which electronic music can have a human heart. The emphasis more on cutting-edge synthpop, with the primitive computer game jungles from the debut being scrapped, and the band even turn their hands to a Beatles cover in the form of a sedated-sounding take on Day Tripper. Got a good reason to listen? Oh, most certainly, because this release finds the Yellow Magic Orchestra graduating from the one-off Ryuichi Sakamoto-led lark of the debut album into a true band effort.

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 Yellow Magic Orchestra by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 27 ratings

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Yellow Magic Orchestra
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

3 stars It will be unwise, that this paradoxical, half and half , masterpiece, should be denied, at least a listening. Why? For starters, it is an un-matched blend of the best technologies, recording-wise, production-wise and performing-wise, with the perfect-timing and in the the perfect place for this to happen, 1978, Tokio/Japan. Founding members, Hosono, Sakamoto and Takahashi, prior of this release, were quiet familiar with the Tokio underground Dark/ Rock scene, which down there,was like a pre-gothic pioneer of the one we know now. In some way, this was thought to be released as a Haruomi Hosono, solo studio recording. It changed to what we now know as The Yellow Magic Orchestra or YMO. So this first YMO, was upbrought with extreme taste and refinement, it was itself, subversive, conceptually speaking, a direct exposure and satire of the commercialy exploited "exotic "Yellow" culture" marketing, now that post-WW2, had been settled in the past, market-wise. Performed with top of the line,electronic synths, gadgets and paraphernalia ( that is why, it is in the P/E category,I suppose ), a bass/vocalist and a drummer. Of course, the once considered guest, then turned member, and still very productive,up to this day, Ryuchi Sakamoto had the same kind of "sonic-effect", Eno had with Roxy Music. Luckly for Roxy, it never affected the quality of musical composition but enhanced it , opposite to what happens, in this half & half small wonder. (of course this is not Sakamoto's fault, that takes team-work!). Concluding that this is pre-Kraftwerk work, it could easily be marked, for good and bad as the first "synth-pop" album. ...Composition wise, it is as silly and hollow as Kraftwerk's... At least YMO, kind of make a joke about it, BUT in the long run, it could easily be forgotten. Great in everything, but musical composition! ***3 PA stars.

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 Yellow Magic Orchestra by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 27 ratings

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Yellow Magic Orchestra
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars An intriguing demonstration of the musical possibilities of the new generation of synthesisers, the debut album by Yellow Magic Orchestra covers everything from chiptunes to synthpop. With tracks pitched to scratch itches from traditional and orchestral music to disco, all filtered through synthesisers but with the occasional non-synthesiser creeping its way in here and there, at points it does feel a little bit like a tech demo, but few albums were more successful at predicting how synthesisers would change music - and catalysing that change - than this one. Along with Kraftwerk's classic albums, this represents the point where a new pop-focused style of electronic music splintered off from the spacey and more cerebral approaches of prior electronic artists.

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 BGM by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.90 | 11 ratings

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BGM
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by frogbs

5 stars A number of people have wondered if YMO really belong on a "progressive" webiste. It's true that this as virtually nothing to do with "King Crimson" or "Genesis" or "Canterbury Scene". But let's face it. Progression doesn't have to be done with rock instrumentation only. Case in point this, one of the all time greatest synthesizer albums. Forget the Kraftwerk comparisons for a minute. I love the hell out of KW but they simply didn't have the talent or ingenuity of YMO. This is certainly technopop of the highest order but there is so much going on behind the scenes, some of which you can't hear unless you've got the right system. The overall sound is murky but this was a very conscious decision. Songs like "Camoflague" and "Music Plans" have a skittering, dark feel to them that take several listens to fully digest. And one of the tracks is basically a symphony ("Mass") with electronic beats. You want to talk progressive? Nobody was using an 808 in 1981 for Christ's sake. "1000 Knives" gives you a big dose of the 808 behind one of Sakamoto's earliest compositions, and the result is something incredible. Certainly you've seen people breakdance to beats like this but the frantic synth stabs behind it are something that is rarely heard. YMO was certainly at a highpoint creatively with this - they had enough left over for another album the same year, also a classic.

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 Solid State Survivor by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.88 | 26 ratings

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Solid State Survivor
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by frogbs

4 stars The ratings of YMO albums are all over the map on this website and I feel it really misrepresents them. The truth is that their *main* albums (the s/t, this one, BGM, Technodelic, and Naughty Boys) run very close in quality. I agree though that if you're a prog guy this is probably not the album for you. This is where their Kraftwerk influence is perhaps the most felt but it's really just a celebration of technology, or the promise of a "future Japan". Like the first album most of these sounds (which are commonplace today) must have blown some heads in their day. Most of this is light and very catchy but the darker tracks really do reveal a sophistication in their work. You can't put brilliant minds like this together without getting something like that. But poppier moments like "Rydeen", "Technopolis", "Behind the Mask" (ESPECIALLY "Behind the Mask" - has a greater technopop song ever been written?) and that incredible chorus in "Absolute Ego Dance" (where the vocoder comes in) are what it's all about. And if you can't tolerate an ass-backwards cover of "Day Tripper", I don't know what to tell you. Really I'd give this 4.5 stars but I was told by the rules to use 5 stars sparingly so I'm gonna save it for BGM.

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 Naughty Boys by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.42 | 8 ratings

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Naughty Boys
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars An upbeat bouncy album that could be considered a cross amalgamation of a more lively and poppy 'Kraftwerk' and Sylvian's 'Japan'. It's not bad at all, but does reek of early 80's keyboard technology and production.

The tunes and vocals are actually very pleasant to my ears, but I'm sure most Prog aficionados will have their hair standing on end and toes curled up in a cramp whilst listening to this synthetic plastic android mess.

The last Yellow Magic Orchestra worth finding. Even then, it may alienate many fans due solely to it's easy listening pop sensibilities. Brilliant production, excellent keyboard separation with decent tunes, but YMO really were light hearted clown buffoons at this point in their careers, with the singular aim of fame and fortune.

It didn't really quite come off, but Ryuichi Sakamoto did have his 15 minutes of glory while starring with Bowie in the excellent film 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence' from the same year.

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 BGM by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.90 | 11 ratings

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BGM
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Dobermensch

3 stars Bypassing the rubbish sleeve, what's on offer here is some excellent upbeat Kraftwerk clones from around the same period.

Fans of electronic music will love this. There are quite a few elements of 'Sylvian's Japan' present which is understandable considering it was released in the same year as 'Tin Dum' with the help of Sakamoto. 'BGM' is, however, far more electronic and seems to exist in a world of its own. The drums and percussion are as straight as a die, the vocals are androgynous and surprisingly Steve Strange-like. The keyboards are colourful but very early 80's sounding. All of which points in the direction of Kraftwerk.

A more than decent album like all of their recordings up until 1983.

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 Technodelic by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.93 | 23 ratings

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Technodelic
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Famed for its pioneering use of samples and loops to construct music years before it became a commonplace practice, Yellow Magic Orchestra's fifth album, Technodelic sounds amazingly ahead of its time, with some sections that sound like they could have come out on the latest album by M83 or some other electronically-inclined indie/post-rock act instead of a thirty year old album. With a catchy, compelling beat and a faster pace than a lot of other electronic music at the time, it's no surprise that as well as being a synthpop/electro-rock classic the album would also exert a significance influence over the dance music scene.

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 Yellow Magic Orchestra by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.75 | 27 ratings

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Yellow Magic Orchestra
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Yellow Magic Orchestra' - Yellow Magic Orchestra (7/10)

For something fun, weird and silly, I would think Japan is the first place I would go to! Yellow Magic Orchestra is widely considered to be the Kraftwerk of Japan, artistic innovators in the realm of electronic music, back when it was new(er than it is today.) Although undeniably progressive in the way they make use of textures here, the Yellow Magic Orchestra is in fact a progenitor of light synthpop here. There is plenty of catchy weirdness to enjoy here, although it can be said that the campy nature of the work gets out of hand at parts.

I have never been much of an expert in electronic music, but Yellow Magic Orchestra sound certainly ahead of their time. Most notably, this is because the music that Yellow Magic Orchestra are making here sounds like a direct precursor to video game soundtracks. Although Super Mario Bros, Pokemon and Star Fox would not gain popularity for about twenty years yet, the music and sounds used here sound like a total influence or the music and sounds in video games. On a contemporary note, Yellow Magic Orchestra is operating on a similar scope to Kraftwerk, albeit with a much more upbeat sound. 'Space music' was the trend of electronic music in the 1970s, but the sounds of galaxies and nebulae are not overt. Instead of densely orchestrated soundscapes, Yellow Magic Orchestra are using these strange sounds to make incredibly catchy and fun music.

'Live' instruments are kept to a minimum here, and instead, the majority of Yellow Magic Orchestra's compositions are left to the sounds of synths and some scarce vocals, the latter of which aren't usually that good. The most melodic moments of this album are magic, being equal parts quirky, fun, and memorable. There is also the feeling that the music does not take itself too seriously, which can be a good thing in parts, but the silliness sometimes gets out of hand, and this results in a sometimes bumpy experience. While Yellow Magic Orchestra are masters of quaint techno-pop, there are loose sound experiments here that revolve around the musicians dabbling with little more than beeps and boops. The experimentalism is appreciated, but not wholly successful.

If I was going to explain the effect of this music, I may label it as incredibly surreal elevator music. The melodies are light, the rhythms are soothing, and everything is doused in a layer of (potentially drug-laced) icing. 'Yellow Magic Orchestra' is a debut album that is certain only suitable for occasional listening, although it stands as one of the most memorable vintage electronic albums I have yet listened to.

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 Solid State Survivor by YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.88 | 26 ratings

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Solid State Survivor
Yellow Magic Orchestra Progressive Electronic

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Solid State Survivor is a bit less satisfying than Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut album, but I still find it to be a decent listen. This time around, the pop in robo-pop is emphasized much more, and the funk and jazz elements from the debut are not present here. There isn't really anything too progressive about this album, or anything interesting either. Solid State Survivor is, for the most part, slightly above-par synth-pop; nothing stands out and nothing really works against it. This whole album only sounds like a better version of Kraftwerk's Electric Cafe, which doesn't really say much, I guess.

Not prog, but still is one of the only '80s albums that I can enjoy at least a little bit. It's sad that this album had to be the follow up to very awesome selt-titled debut.

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Thanks to Retrovertigo for the artist addition.

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