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Yellow Magic Orchestra

Entry updated 3 May 2021. Tagged: Music.

Japanese synth-pop band, comprising Haruomi Hosono (1947-    ), Yukihiro Takahashi (1952-    ) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (1952-    ). They are regarded by some as nothing more than a long-lived novelty act, and it is true that the group have produced their fair share of jaunty, disposable electronic pop; but there is spine of significant and influential music-making running along their career. As with many post-Kraftwerk purveyors of electronica, the machinic and technological is a recurrent theme: "Technopolis" (on Solid State Survivor, 1979) has a bright, energetic Utopian feel, and Technodelic (1981) maps out further high-tech aural spaces. Having disbanded in 1984, the group reunited for one album Technodon (1993), a typically varied set with strong machinic-sf content, not least William S Burroughs and William Gibson reading from their work to a musical backing. They broke up again, but have since (2007) reformed to advertise Japanese beer.

Many of the band's lyrics are in English, written by anglophone friends of the group but sung, with varying degrees of comprehensibility, by the band members themselves; something which adds to the dislocated charm of the whole. [AR]


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