yellow magic

This past week has been difficult, as my significant other has had a very serious family emergency to cope with and I’ve been preoccupied with helping her get through it all. Needless to say I haven’t had much time or interest in doing things like blogging. But I’d thought I’d share with you some music that makes me smile and yearn for a return to the happier, simpler days of my childhood. It seems popular music today is showing a heavy influence of the electronic, danceable, early ’80s (in groups as diverse as Hot Chip, MIA, MGMT, etc). I’d like to pay homage to one of the bands that helped to create those wonderful electro-poppy sounds: Yellow Magic Orchestra.

Back in college a friend of mine named Rickmond (who had the unique talent of being able to instantly play, on his Casio keyboard, any television theme song you could name) used to tell me about one of his fav musician/composers, Ryuichi Sakamoto. The stuff he showed me at the time didn’t interest me much; it sounded like new-agey world music. Little did I realize this dude, along with 2 other Japanese guys, formed one of the most influential Electropop bands of the late 70s/early 80s. The only way I can describe them is like Nintendo meets Kraftwerk meets Hiroshima.

Their music video for the 2-song suite Computer Games/Firecracker (the former is an intro for the latter) is quite phenomenal and is rewarding to watch all the way through. And below is a video of them performing Firecracker live at the Budokan in 1980. You get to see Yukihiro Takahashi smack those synth drums with his Billy Dee Williams-esque pimp mustache, and there’s some nice shots of Ryuichi Sakamoto displaying his keyboard chops. But the highlight has to be the pig-tailed keyboardist and her aerobics instructor dance–she’s got more stage presence than all of the other guys combined. Definitely worthy of the slow-motion shots.

Published in: on June 23, 2008 at 2:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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