I think I went a little too fast regarding the death of Susumu Yokota earlier this year (but just recently announced by his fam) at age 54. You could say that in the early 90s there was a quintumvirate of electronic dance music: ambient/IDM, house/progressive, anything breaky, techno and then trance. The Harthouse record label, headed by Sven Vath after his Off project ended (we all know the story, Sven became a DJ while the other two guys became the zillion-selling king-kongs of pop-EDM called Snap!) spearheaded this new dark trance offshoot of main label Eye-Q, both at the time owned by Warners.
Yokota recorded his first album ‘The Frankfurt-Tokyo Connection’ for Harthouse and it was released in the US on one of those short-lived US licensers (this one called Planet Earth Recordings) and featured several trance drivers, quite digital and bombastic.
Incidentally, this was not the first Yokota LP I got to know. Harthouse in Frankfurt had a UK and US office by ’95 and was about to go into bankruptcy; all 3 offices literally breathing their last breaths in 1997. Well, IN ’97 (I say ’97 because although “history” will tell you this record came out in 1996, my copy is stamped “2 19 97”), Yokota dropped ‘Cat, Mouse And Me’ which is simply a gorgeous album of light fluffy house, breaks and downtempo tunes that would later go on to to form the mass of his back catalogue. I cannot recommend this record enough. Find it and cherish it. He was quite the prolific recording artist, many headz out there prefer ‘Grinning Cat’, which came out in 2001 on Leaf.
I’ll never forget when Damien Lee was in Stripmine Records on Laura exactly where the Main Library front door is now (in 1997 it was a strip of stores) and he ordered me the Yokota ‘One Way’ single. The remix on that was FIRE and I will post it below.
So although I posted a track from the first album the other day, I want to leave you with a bit more of his early work and maybe you will find the time to discover one of the few Japanese EDM artists we have (had) out there. His music was truly timeless. That leaves Ken Ishii and Kaito as the forefront of the Japanese movement right now and as you should know, those guys sincerely know their shit.
YTOTD1: Yokota – Trance Wheel
YTOTD2: Yokota – Grinning Cat
A lot has been said about Thump’s 99 best EDM albums. Look, the millenial generation will have it’s reservations, those of us who’ve been doing this 25+ years are gonna have theirs and everyone’s wondering what the fuck Gwen Stefani is doing in there. Personally, it is a “dance music” list (why not include Madonna’s first self-titled LP, almost recorded exclusively on the Linn Drum drumbox and is a bonafide masterpiece) but whatever your reservations, it IS a little hard to see Drexciya paired with Major Lazer. Anywayz, ch-check it out…
Have you heard of Scientist? He’s a dub pioneer – you should be clued up by now and this is the article to do it. Our local DubTheorist would be pleased (if he got off his duff to read the blog every now and again)…
Time tow Rich at Deep Search some love. See what he’s got going online now. New and improved…
TOTD: Sigward – Washby