Review: Having previously issued Akiko Yano's 1976 debut "Japanese Girl" - an eccentric set of East-West pop fusions marked out by the artist's distinctive vocals - Wewantsounds has returned to raid her vaults once more. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" first appeared in 1977 and garnered great hype in Japan thanks to the success of its predecessor. It's a similarly eccentric but inspired set, with Yano confidently flitting between synthesizer-heavy instrumental soundscapes (see superb opener "Kawaji"), drowsy country-inspired songs ("A Long Wait"), seductive jazz-funk ("Hourou"), head-nodding reggae-boogie ("Hai Hai Gasa") and breathy, post-soul ballads ("On The Way Home", a song that boasts both pedal steel and synthesizers).
Review: Given his innate ability to craft intensely atmospheric and often fundamentally unsettling music, it seems apt that Thom Yorke has finally got around to producing a film soundtrack. It's fitting, too, that said soundtrack is for Luca Guadagnino's weirdo remake of 1977 Italian horror flick "Suspiria". Yorke nails the brief, delivering a string of chilling, otherworldly instrumentals that not only draw on his well-established love of dark ambient and gruesome electronica, but also foreboding neo-classical movements and sparse, wide-eyed arrangements. There are a smattering of superb vocal moments, too, with recent single "Suspirio" - described by one broadsheet reviewer as "the saddest waltz you'll ever here" - standing out.
Review: It's taken a while, but finally Thom Yorke's impressive third solo album, "ANIMA", is available on wax (and in a fetching shade of orange, too). A future classic that continues the legacy he started with XL Recordings back in 2006 (with his solo debut The Eraser), ANIMA is well worth picking up, as Yorke and co-producer Nigel Godrich offer up evocative, off-kilter songs built around the twin attractions of the Radiohead man's distinctive vocals and skewed backing tracks rich in layered electronic noise, body-bending sub-bass, discordant synthesizer parts and intriguingly jaunty drum loops. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the creepy, lo-fi ambient swirl of "Last I Heard (...He Was Circling the Drain)" and "Dawn Chorus" (a blissfully dewy-eyed early morning soundscape), to the low-slung, post-trip-hop hum of "I Am A Very Rude Person" and the fizzing, jazz-fired thrust of "Impossible Knots". Melancholic, yes. Deep and self-effacing, of course. Nihilistic, not really. Percussive futurist sub-pop is back.
Review: Up until his death in 2003, Hiroshi Yoshimura spent decades offering up immaculate albums that blurred the boundaries between ambient, new age and minimalism. For those not versed in the Japanese ambient pioneer's vast catalogue, 1986's "Green" - which is here reissued by Light In The Attic - remains one of his most impressive works. Created using a minimal number of instruments (mostly synthesizers and electric pianos), the set is as quietly jazzy as it is relaxing. Highlights include the meditative, Terry Riley influenced bliss of "Feel", the pulsing organ stabs and blissful electronics of "Sheep", the garden-ready musical hug that is "Green" and the swelling opener "Creek".
Review: Earlier in the year, Yves Tumor announced the release of this album by releasing 'Gospel For a New Country', a low-slung chunk of post-punk pop brilliance that mixed weighty grooves and emotive vocals with flash-fried guitar riffs amd sampled big band horns. Fittingly, it's this fine track that kicks off 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind', a notably fuzzy, live-sounding set that continues his evolution from quirky electronica maker to alt-rock artist. While there are some electronic sounds dotted across the set, for the most part it's funk-rock riffs, ESG style basslines, organic drums and his own heartfelt vocals that dominate. It could win him many new fans; certainly, it's a very good album.