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Album Review

Multi-talented producer Susumu Yokota returns to the ambient realm with the beautiful and diverse Sakura. When he indulges his fondness for pop hooks with his dancefloor material, Yokota's melodic choices are glossy and extroverted, but his music for home listening is focused, controlled, and deeply internal. His knack for blending traditional instruments like guitar and piano with simple electronics harks back to ambient music's birth in the mid-'70s; at times Sakura recalls the work of pioneers like Brian Eno, Cluster, and Manuel Göttsching. The icy "Saku" sets the meditative tone on Sakura, with gentle, winding guitar lines, relaxed synthesizer oscillations, and plenty of breathing space for the minimal instrumentation. Beats make their first appearance on "Uchiu Tanjyo," as smooth, semi-tribal hand drums blend organically with the repeating keyboard figures. "Genshi" adds house drum programming to the brew, and Yokota's knack for reflective electronic melody on the track rivals the best of Kraftwerk. Both "Azukiior No Kaori" and "Kodomotachi" use vocal samples to haunting effect, bringing to mind the favored techniques of Nobukazu Takemura without direct reference to machine glitches. The flow is marred by a misplaced jazz cutup ("Naminote"), but Sakura possesses an austere beauty and should not be overlooked.

Customer Reviews

Fresh, Modern, Happy Ambient Music

I bought this album last spring, and listened to it whilst travelling around in the sun on my bike. Its a really melodic, and modern sounding piece of ambient music. It is slightly more up tempo than other recordings. I actually put this onto my iPod with the track listing reversed, but I haven't corrected it as I believe it is far better starting with the last track first. Great Tunes: If you only download 3 make it Kirakiraboshi, Shinsen, and Kodomotachi.

Expansive Ambience!

I first heard this several years ago - and it's still a heart rendering and intricate piece of ambient music. Rich tracks like Tobiume and Azukiiro No Kaori sit side by side with the piano infused Naminote, or the uplifting Genshi in an intriquing blend of imagination and depth. Susumu is a genius - this album never gets boring and everyone should own a copy :)

a soundtrack to modern living

put this in the car and go for a long drive, on your own preferably.


Born: Japan

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Susumu Yokota emerged in the early '90s as one of the most versatile and prolific electronic producers going. In his native Japan, he was known for many years as a top-tier dance music talent, specializing in all varieties of house while dabbling in techno, electro, and trance for the Sublime, Harthouse, and Planet Earth labels. Alternate aliases for his dance releases included Ringo, Prism, and Sonicstuff. While his dancefloor tracks were funky and playful with a heavy debt to epic disco -- he even...
Full bio
Sakura, Susumu Yokota
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Customer Ratings