Been busy! Mostly the good busy! And I wrote a lot of shit on my other site. I finished my guide to YMO’s albums, which took me far too long so I hope you all read it, share it and enjoy it. Then I did a write-up on the Mario Anniversary Celebration that I went to. I still haven’t seen much English language coverage of that, so if you know anyone who would be interested in reading such an article please pass it along to them. Same goes for my review of the Mario Anniversary music CD.
Basically, I’m asking you all to read my shit and pass my shit along to others who might enjoy it and do the same. Because sometimes validation via readership feels nice.
Lots of music tonight! Shit, lots of words tonight!
Masquerade (Extended Version)
Like Flames (Extended Version)
Dancing In Berlin (Dance Remix)
You Don’t Know (Extended Remix)
The Metro (Remix)
No More Words (Dance Remix)
These are all of the Dancing In Berlin remix EP, which only came out in Japan. And if you think that the only reason that I moved to Japan was so that I’d have a chance of finding rare out-of-print CDs like this in budget racks for less than five bucks you’d be…not entirely off mark.
Seriously though, I was pretty excited to come across this one today. I already had most of these tracks as vinyl rips, but most of them were still kind of scratchy despite my best efforts to clean them up. And these remixes of “Masquerade” and “Like Flames” are entirely new to me.
If you’re reading this blog then you’re probably in agreement with me that Berlin is totally one of the best bands of the 80s. If you’re not, well then, why the hell are you reading this blog? All their albums are good, even Information, which doesn’t feature Terri Nunn. I’m partial to the last “classic” album Count Three & Pray though, thanks largely to the inclusion of “Pink And Velvet” which is an achingly beautiful tragic ballad about junkies that just happens to feature one of the best guitar solos that David Gilmour (yes, that David Gilmour) ever put on wax.
That album also features Ted Nugent. So if you want to stump your friends on trivia night with “What album features David Gilmour and Ted Nugent?” then you’re welcome.
By the by, I didn’t include the extended version of “Sex (I’m A…)” because you can get that on the CD and digital editions of Pleasure Victim.
Tong Poo (Welcome To Jupiter Version)
Tong Poo (Naked Jupiter Version)
Zai Kung Tong Boy (在広東少年) (Original Version)
Zai Kung Tong Boy (在広東少年) (Tobashite Yukuyo Version)
Zai Kung Tong Boy (在広東少年) (Live Version with Ryuicihi Sakamoto)
Akiko Yano is a pianist singer-songwriter who came to prominence in Japan during the 80s due to her relationship with YMO (which was more than professional, she was married to Ryuichi Sakamoto for a bit). I put some of her stuff on here ages ago, including the first version of “Tong Poo” that I’m including here again tonight.
The other two version of “Tong Poo” (which I keep typing as “Tony Poo” for some reason) are new. I mean that literally, they’re on her new album, Welcome To Jupiter, which just came out this week. I know I usually don’t post music you can get legally but I do realize that the overwhelming majority of you all reading this don’t live in Japan, so your options for picking this up by legal means are relatively limited. Because record companies don’t understand how digital distribution works.
The Welcome To Jupiter version is an interesting take that combines acoustic instruments with some oddball electronic sound effects. I don’t know if I like everything it does (but waterdrop sound effect is a bit much) but I do appreciate its eccentricity. The “Naked Jupiter” version is an instrumental that’s included as a bonus version of the deluxe edition of the album.
“Zai Kung Tong Boy” is a great song with a really interesting lineage. It was written by Sakamoto and included on Yano’s album Dinner Is Waiting, which was co-produced by Sakamoto as well and features contributions with the rest of YMO. The song was also frequently performed live during YMO concerts, with Yano still on vocals as she was one of their touring keyboardists at the time. It was apparently also performed often at Sakamoto solo shows. The second version is taken from one such show, included as a bonus track on a Sakmoto box set I purchased last year. This version is over seven minutes long and features some SICK shredding.
The final version was taken from Yano’s 2014 album Tobashite Yukuyo, which featured Yano working with several prominent Japanese producers (a trend she repeats on Welcome To Jupiter). In this case, the producer is Yoshinori Sunahara, formerly of Denki Groove, who has also done remix work for Cornelius and Yukihiro Takahashi of YMO. That same album also features a collaboration with Boom Boom Satellites, and I’ll try to share that sometime soon.