Simple and direct this is one of the Top 5 albums that I’ve been listening to nonstop since our departure in 2014, a wild collaboration between Akiko, YMO and David Sylvian’s Japan. East + West = Gemstone! There will be more Akiko’s albums throughout our trip, she is a VERY special composer, singer, and performer that is still rocking on so this is just the beginning. This LP is a fav of the Blog so get ready…
Let’s go to our artist:
Akiko Yano (3 February 1955) was born in Tokyo and raised in Aomori, Japan. She began playing piano at the young age of three (!) and demonstrated promising talent. When she was only fifteen, Akiko moved to Tokyo on her own and entered into Aoyama Gakuin High School where she pursued her musical career. She later began performing in jazz clubs where her masterful skill at the piano brought her popularity among other musicians. Akiko joined a band with roots in Tin Pan Alley.
Akiko recorded her debut album, Japanese Girl, primarily in Los Angeles with Lowell George and Little Feat. When it was released in 1976 many reputed her to be a “girl with a musical wonder.” She then began collaborating with Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).
They continued to play on her next recording projects and invited Akiko to join them on two of their worldwide tours. Akiko expanded her musical collaborations with YMO on her subsequent LP releases, she continued to release LPs joined by Japan and Pat Metheny and has performed on albums by Thomas Dolby and other artists.
In 1990 Akiko relocated to New York where she collaborated and toured with some of the world’s most renowned musicians including The Chieftains, Toninho Horta and Jeff Bova on his project The Hammonds. August 2007 marked her second debut as yanokami a pop unit with Rei Harakami, an electronic musician and sought-after producer.
To date, Akiko has released more than 30 (!) original albums, being Welcome to Jupiter her last in 2015, latter ones such Soft Landing are reissues or even Live records.
Let’s go to our album:
The following text is taken from Jansen Photography Blog, so I will take a short extract from it, thank you for the Infos and photos!
‘In 1978 YMO performed as Yano’s back-up band for a Japanese tour, and at this time she became romantically involved with Sakamoto, following the breakup of her marriage. Although at the time this wasn’t noted in the press, once YMO became famous the story was spread across the papers, something that Akiko further highlighted herself by including clippings from the tabloid reports in a tour program. In 1979 Akiko became a support member of YMO; taking a break in early 1980 when she gave birth to daughter Miu Sakamoto, before returning for the second YMO world tour.
Japan the band first became aware of Akiko Yano because Japanese fans gave the group mixtapes of music they thought they would like. At that time, they did not know that there was a connection between YMO and Akiko. This soon changed when Japan attended a YMO concert and was introduced backstage. David Sylvian, Sakamoto and Yano started to exchange letters, something referred to in the song “David” released later in the 80s.
For her 1981 tour, Akiko recruited Masami Tsuchiya as a guitar player, and he went on to play on her album “Tadaima”. Both artists came to London in early 1982 and booked time at Air Studios, Masami to record “Rice Music” and Akiko “Ai Ga Nakucha Ne”.
Akiko specifically chose to work with Japan members and to record at Air because of “Tin Drum”; she liked the clarity of sound and the feel of the album, and wanted that for her own recording. To that end, not only did Akiko recruit the Japan members, but she employed Steve Nye and David Rhodes for the duration of the recording.
The producing role would be performed by fiancé Ryuichi as the couple would marry before the album was released in 1982.06.25.’
So finally let us drink the waters from a synth-pop masterpiece with multiple touches you will hardly find it in any Western release!
The ‘IM’ highlights are Onnatachiyo Otokotachiyo and Donnatokimo Donnatokimo Donnatokimo.
Side A うし (Ushi – Cattle)
A1 愛がなくちゃね (Ai Ga Nakucha Ne – There Must be Love)
A2 悲しくてやりきれない (Kanashikute Yarikirenai – Unbearable Sadness)
A3 What’s Got In Your Eyes?
A4 おいしい生活 (Oishii Seikatsu – Small Time Crooks)
A5 みちでバッタリ (Michi De Battari – I Ran Straight on the Road)
Side B ぞう (Zō – Elephant)
B1 女たちよ 男たちよ (Onnatachiyo Otokotachiyo – About Women and Men)
B2 あいするひとよ (Aisuru Hitoyo – Overnight Love)
B3 Sleep On My Baby
B4 Another Wedding Song
B5 どんなときも どんなときも どんなときも (Donnatokimo Donnatokimo Donnatokimo – Anytime, Anytime, Anytime)
B6 Good Night
All songs and lyrics by Akiko Yano
Except for A2 by Kazuhiko Kato & Hachiro Sato / A5 by Yuji Takahashi & Masafumi Oka.
Arranged By: Akiko Yano, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Bass: Haruomi Hosono, Mick Karn
Drums: Steve Jansen, Yukihiro Takahashi
Guitar: David Rhodes, Kenji Omura, Robbie Mackintosh
Keyboards: Akiko Yano, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Engineer: Shinichi Tanaka, Steve Nye
Mixed By – Steve Nye
Co-producer: Ryuichi Sakamoto
Producer – Akiko Yano
This album was recorded in London with members of Yellow Magic Orchestra and Japan.