30 November 2010

Susumu Yokata - 1994 - Acid Mt. Fuji

Quality: 3.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.25 out of 5

The title of this makes me think that we're supposed to slap it with an 'acid house' label. Certainly, many elements of that genre are present and accounted for her, but the music presents these beats with a pretty light touch. There is a strong pull towards ambient sounds present as well, and it comes in a flavor not too dissimilar from the early Orb albums. Really, it's an approach that saves this music from the glossy sound that accompanied much of the acid house of the 90's. Yeah, that production sheen is there, but this music is much more of a mind trip than the gritty dance-floor freak out that acid house often aims for.

The tracks are pretty well sequenced, with a notable build up throughout the album. The first couple of songs feature fine soundscapes punctuated by some light beats. They come across like a slightly more in-your-face version of the electronic sounds of Gas. "Meijijingu" pushes the BPMs a little faster, and the flavor of ambience takes on more colours from the Orb. "Saboten's" late night dance floor vibe is definitely one of the highlights of the album. The mid section of the album gets a little too involved with clanging noises and long stretches of programmed percussion, but "Akafuji" brings back some focus with it's dark soundscape, and "Tanuki" is a fine world music groover, even if the world music elements sound a bit like they took a trip through the Nature Company store. On the other hand, "Alphaville" comes across almost as insistently annoying as the computer voice from the movie I assume the track is titled after.

While this is not top flight electronica, and does offer quite a bit of trippy sounds and should be appealing to those of you who dig stuff like Gas or the early Orb. There's definitely a nice 'art' vibe here - Yokota was clearly trying to create some textured, visual sounds, and some of the results are quite beautiful.


Anonymous said...


Andrew said...

Thanks for that . . . I've a few of his albums - not this one, will listen later - & the one with the most interesting stuff for me is Grinning Cat.