SUSUMU YOKOTA: Mother (Lo Recordings)


Posted on Feb 19th 2009 01:37 am

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Susumu Yokota: Mother

Lo Recordings 2009
13 Tracks. 52mins22secs

Icon: arrow Buy: CD | iTunes

One can never presume to know in which shape and form Susumu Yokota may reappear, so wide-spread and iconoclastic is his impressive body of work. He has successfully tried his hand at pretty much every form of electronic-based music there is, from dance to ambient and electronica to experimental composition. His latest venture finds him exploring the outer boundaries of pop music, and for that, he has enrolled a number of friends to lay vocals on his compositions, including Efterklang’s lead vocalist Casper Clausen, singer-songwriter Nancy Elizabeth, whose debut album was released a couple of years ago on Leaf, The Chap’s Claire Hope and Panos Ghikas, Caroline Ross, Our Broken Garden’s Anna Bronsted, and Japanese songstress Kaori.

Far from being a straight-forward affair, Mother rarely settles for long on a particular idea. While the mood is overall pretty chilled and the pace slow, the album echoes with the breezy Gallic flow and kitsch futurism of Stereolab (Love Tendrilises), the dense textural atmospherics of post Seefeel popsters Scala (The Natural Process), the ethereal drapes of the Cocteau Twins (Meltwater, 12 Days 12 Nights) and Harold Budd (Warmth, the only instrumental piece here), or the cinematic sound of Locust (Suture).

Of all the vocal contributors, it is perhaps Nancy Elizabeth who shines the most. landing her soft rounded tones on Yokota’s equally smooth and fresh atmospheric shapes and casting a strong presence on the easy-going Breeze, and even more on the more free flowing ambient Ray Of Light and moody new wave of A Flower White early on, then on the voluptuous Reflected Mind, on which she shares the bill with Kaori, and on the beautiful 12 Days 12 Nights toward the end. Elsewhere, the lush and warm Meltwater, featuring Caroline Ross and Kaori, proves a worthy piece of evanescent pop, while on Tree Surgeon, the voices of Kaori and The Chap’s Claire Hope and Panos Ghikas seem to ricochet over the crystalline surface of Yokota’s instrumentation.

All throughout Mother, Yokota manoeuvres between genres and ambiences, guiding his contributors through the vast meanders and softly nuanced grounds of his universe to create a rather unique record, which constantly veers from light to dark and cold to warm, without ever settling for long. Mother is without a doubt Yokota’s most accessible record, but it ultimately lacks the consistency, focus and elegance of Sakura, Grinning Cat, The Boy And The Tree or the more recent Love Or Die. This said, the standard remains very high all the way through and contributes to making this latest venture one to notice.


Icon: arrow Susumu Yokota | Lo Recordings
Icon: arrow Buy: CD | iTunes

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