My irresponsible spending, your gain.

Japanese synth-pop band Yellow Magic Orchestra were a pretty big deal in Japan throughout much of the 80s. They were such a big deal that they were able to form their own vanity label called Yen records in the early 80s, one they kept going well into the 90s (I actually talk about Yen a bit on the episode of Retronauts that I guested on last year, if you’re interested).

Many of the best albums that Yen put out remain out of print, making them sought after collectibles on both sides of the Pacific. Of those, none are more in demand than the Yen Boxes, two massive CD box sets that collected many of the rarest and hardest-to-find albums in the Yen catalog, as well as several tracks that were never released commercially at all. When one shows up in a used record store, it can go for insane prices.

I would know. I bought one last week.

Sigh, okay…I’m not going to tell you all how much I paid for it. Let’s just say I paid a lot, okay?

Look, don’t you fucking judge me.

Besides, if I hand’t have bought it, then you wouldn’t get a chance to hear these awesome and awesomely-rare Japanese synthpop cuts tonight, now would you?

Hajime Tachibana
Theme From Barricade (Another Version)
Replicant J.B. (Remix Edit Version)
Hajime Tachibana was the guitarist for a Japanese new wave act called The Plastics. They only put out three records during their short lifespan in the late-70s/early-80s, but they were pretty interesting. I might do something on them some other time. Right now though I want to focus on Tachibana though, because this motherfucker is goddamn crazy.

Even before The Plastics broke up, Tachibana was branching out. In 1980 he guested on YMO vocalist Yukihiro Takahashi’s excellent 1980 album Murdered By The Music, playing guitar on one track. I assume its from there that he got in with the YMO crew, who signed him to Yen Records in 1982 for the release of his first album, H.

H…is a jazz record. I mean, yeah, it’s a jazz record with some interesting electronic elements and some experimental diversions here and there, but from what I can tell it’s a jazz record. And as I don’t like jazz, I’m not a fan.

The following year Tachibana followed up H with Hm, which largely abandons jazz for insane avant-garde minimalist experimentalism ala Philip Glass. It’s CRAZY, but damn if it isn’t some complicated listening. This is not one I take with me for my morning commute.

The year after that Tachibana returned with yet another solo record, the amazingly titled Mr. Techie and Miss Kipple.


My guess is that sometime in 1983 someone gave Tachibana an Art of Noise album, because that’s exactly what this LP sounds like. It’s crazy. It’s insane. It’s awesome.

The Art of Noise’s largely instrumental new wave/post-punk/ambient/industrial sound was very rarely imitated during the 80s, so to hear anyone give it a go  shocks the hell out of me. And to hear anyone do it as great as Tachibana pulled it off is blowing my fucking mind. This is literally all I’m listening to right now. It’s kicking my ass in so many ways. This is my new shit.

These remixes are taken from the “Male” bonus disc of the Yen Box. I’ll be posting more of his stuff in the future though, don’t worry.

Idol Era
Drip Dry Eyes
Sandii is a Japanese/American singer who released a couple of albums in the 70s to little fanfare in both the states and Japan. But apparently YMO were fans, as they recruited her for the Yen label in the early 80s. Her 1980 record Eating Pleasure is pretty much a YMO record. She sings on it, but more than half the songs were written by either Hosono or Takahashi from YMO, and almost all of the lyrics were written by YMO’s English songwriter Chris Mosdell. And all three members of YMO, including Sakamoto, play on every song on the album. She even covers Takahashi’s hit “Drip Dry Eyes.” Great shit. Once again, I’ll be posting more of her stuff in the future.

I only have two of her albums, but they’re both fucking fantastic and I desperately want more. Goddamn, Japan is going to be expensive.


4 Responses to “My irresponsible spending, your gain.”

  1. Andrew says:

    Awesome music that I indeed never heard of. Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Snowy says:

    Sandii & the Sunsetz

  3. Snowy says:

    She has used a lot of names…..(these are some!)
    (Sandi Ai) “Sandi Ai”, Toho Records 1975 (included the singles “Ai No Melody” and “Kuzitsuke no yurushite”)
    “Perusha Neko”, Pineapple Records Hawaii, USA 1975
    (Sandy) “Goodbye Morning”, Discomate Records 1976
    (Sandra Hohn) “Love Squall”, Vap Records 1978
    (Sandy O’Neil) “Mystery Nile”, Toshiba-EMI 1978
    “Hey! King Kong”, Toshiba-EMI 1979
    “Drip Dry Eyes” Alfa Records 1980 (Lyrics: Chris Mosdell)
    (with Stephen Duffy) “Something Special” Ten Records/Virgin 1985

    Keep up the great work….Cheers

  4. Snowy says:

    Check out….Jazztronic – Tiki Tiki (Its disturbing stuff!

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