Yokota was a pioneer in the development of Japan’s electronic music scene during its heyday in the early 1990s. Because of his extensive and exceptional body of work, he has garnered admirers from far beyond the realms of the dance community. Bjork, Phillip Glass, and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke are just a few of the many names on his long list of admirers. Music from Harthouse, Sublime Records, Reel Musiq, Leaf and his own Skintone imprint has found homes on some of the world’s most respected dance labels, and he has been invited to perform DJ sets at some of the world’s most prestigious dance venues. He was the first Japanese artist to perform at Berlin’s Love Parade, and he and Ken Ishii were instrumental in establishing Asia as a major player in dance music during its heyday in the late ’90s and early ’00s, respectively. Innumerable aliases were used to record his music – including Stevia, Ebi, Prism, Ringo, Yin and Yan, Anima Mundi – and his sound ranged from techno to acid, ambient to house, breaks to drum & bass. He also released music under his own name and under the names of others.
However, even though he passed away tragically in 2015, his incredible back catalogue continues to shine brightly, and it comes as no surprise that record labels are choosing to re-issue the best of his music. Earlier in 2021, UK label Cosmic Soup released a collection of house and techno sounds recorded by Yokota under the pseudonym 246, and now it’s the turn of his ambient-leaning track ‘Symbol’ to enjoy yet another outing in the spotlight. The blissfully horizontal album, which was previously released on the British imprint Lo-Recordings, is built around a core of samples taken from classical music, which are then manipulated and repurposed in conjunction with Yokota’s masterful programming.
With passages and snippets from classical masters such as Debussy, Tchaikovsky, and Ravel, he expertly lifts the emotion that underpins each piece of music while creating an entirely new vision for each piece on the album. Starting with the calming strings of the opening track ‘Long Long Silk Bridge’ and continuing with the mesmerizing chants of the closing track ‘Flaming Love And Destiny,’ the album is brimming with imaginative and spellbinding beauty. In terms of electronic music composition, Yokota was a true master, and ‘Symbol’ is one of his most seductive and playfully seductive albums. New audiences will have the opportunity to marvel at his studio prowess thanks to its re-release, which is both penetrating and profound in its impact.
Susumu Yokota’s, ‘Symbol,’ is available now via P-Vine. You can listen to it and purchase it right here.
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