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on 28 July 2001
It's certainly different from Sakura. Grinning Cat is much less, well, ambient. The ideas are more aggressive, and he uses samples more frequently (and with startling orgininality). In this sense, some parts of it reminded me of Endtroducing by D J Shadow. Grinning Cat is fascinating music, recommendable to anyone whose musical tastes go deeper than S Club Seven. The fist time you listen to the track Flying Cat, your jaw will drop. Stunning. A bizarre combination of orchestral shreiks, rich in filmic atmosphere and enhanced half way through by an astonishing military drum pattern played across the beat. It one of the strange and beautiful things to come out of this world.
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on 23 June 2007
An excellent and highly original take on ambient, sample based chill out. Susumo's style seems to evade clear definition. Its many layered samples and instrumentation gives it an earthy, organic feel that juxtaposes with the more digital, electronic elements provided by the jagged sampling techniques and sound arrangement. Breakbeats and drum sequencers are used sparingly and never in a conventional sense, the percussive elements of each tune often being led by the more dominating samples and sounds which are perfectly selected and blended.

A very relaxing album that is still interesting and challenging.
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on 26 June 2001
Less than a year after the release of his last album, Sakura, the new king of Japanese ambience releases another stunning album!!
It is based loosely around the story of Alice in Wonderland, hence the title. The theme is quite fitting listening to the abstract, dreamy music.
Compared to his previous outing, this album is quite different in a number of ways. Although it retains his individual sound, this time a lot more piano and broken guitar riffs can be heard, rather than deep reverbed synths. On some tracks such as 'Card Nation' and 'Fearful Dream', the track even decends into a strange tribal drum pattern, which I didn't personally like too much. I think Susumu should stick to what he does best, layering beautiful sounds as in 'King Dragonfly' and 'Lapis Lazuli'.
The album does however, as you'd expect, contain some classics. 'Flying Cat' is the best track I have heard all year. Maybe not as perfect as his first, it's by Susumu Yokota, and therefore still light years ahead of anything you've ever heard!
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VINE VOICEon 18 October 2003
It was always going to be difficult to follow up his previous masterpiece of an album, but he has managed it with style and class.
A bit more heavy on the percussion than the previous album, 'Grinning Cat' is nonetheless a very good album. It pursues the same themes and sounds as 'Sakura'.
'Sakura' will always be in the minds of people, so when this album is being discussed it will always be in the former album's shadow. I feel this is a shame as it stands alone itself as a great album.
In simple terms, if you enjoyed 'Sakura' then you will very much enjoy this.
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on 27 April 2003
I have owned this CD for two years and have listened to it maybe eight times so far. This might seem a lot or a little depending who you are but it is a habit which needs explanation.
This CD is something for special occasions where nothing else will do. The textures created demand your full attention quite simply because your brain cannot comprehend what it is listening to. Some tracks are simply beautiful while others create an unusual image in your mind's eye. Overall, the music is nothing like you've ever heard before and this is why it deserves a five star rating.
Buy this CD if you are a true music lover who is not afraid of unmanufactured music.
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on 26 December 2005
I wish to change my review of this album a year ago and now I prefer this album to Sakura! Like all his ambient albums it takes time and Grinning Cat is just perfect. I am even slowly starting to love “The Boy and the Tree” album which I hated. A good quality stereo and the correct mood is essential to appreciate this music.
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on 3 August 2003
A quality album. Not ambient enough with house beats to sleep too but rather a good background music. The tracks are a little short to what I am used too but well worth buying.
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on 23 September 2006
I bought this album having heard "King Dragonfly" - a wonderfully exciting & atmospheric mix of bustling electronica drum-beats, insidiously repetitive chants, and slightly "off the wall" piano chord sequences - expecting, as you do, more of the same. What I got is something very different: a set of what's best described as electronic/ambient "tone" sequences. Bad news? Well it certainly wasn't what I expected but sometimes that's good news because after a few times through it starts growing on you and then, before you know where you are, you're hitting the replay button. Just don't expect the easy ride that "King Dragonfly" suggests.
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on 29 January 2015
Though very cheap I did expect cd to play all tracks. Not so 2 tracks unplayable
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