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The Boy And The Tree CD
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Vinyl, Limited Edition, 16 Sep 2002
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The Boy and the Tree is jointly inspired by Yokota's experience of Yaku-shima island (a world heritage site) and the anime Mononokehime, directed by Hayao Miyazki. Yokota moves outside the house again, heading deep into an ambient glade. In the real world itself he has indeed relocated away from Tokyo's nerve centre, getting slightly nearer to nature. This is readily apparent in the forest-like feeling that pervades the first few tracks, Yokota concerned with the steady accumulation of atmosphere, teeming with natural phenomena. He uses almost exclusively organic sound sources, but with an artificial slant imposed by the act of looping and layering. Slow-twang guitars are a popular choice, floating into the clouds beside a panoply of small folk instruments. Flute whorls and pattering bamboo, koto (or kora?), zither, sitar, gongs, gamelan cascades or prepared piano, all used to form cyclic patterns of wonderment, weaving a scintillating lattice. As the disc progresses, its bass presence grows and repeated voices creep in, with later tunes like "Red Swan" and "Future Tiger" developing the motion of a ceremonial procession, filled with handclaps and chanting, the density and intensity of Yokota's loops increasing by the minute. --Martin Longley
"Ancient and modern, Yokotas going down in history" -- The Face
"It's hard not to be enchanted by Yokota's dense, disorienting, exquisitely-judged work" -- Uncut Magazine
"Something of a musical phenomenon, a supremely gifted artist who transcends genres with ease." -- Straight No Chaser
"Suffused with human emotion and an otherworldly charm." 5/5 -- Seven
"Yokota's gossamer genius remains on a higher plain." -- Jockey Slut
Top customer reviews
And that's where The Boy And The Tree comes in. The ante is upped yet further, with the tracks almost gaining traditional song forms at times. The usual beautiful dub/ambient sounds are here, with lush voices speaking in not-quite-words, but most tracks feature full rhythm (log drums, african/japanese/jazz sounds etc.) and some have quite a fast tempo (relative to the usual tempo in Yokota's ambient recordings). And while I would recommend you buy the other two albums in order, this album is definitely the best product of Mr. Yokota's offbeat, relaxed vision so far.
Again he proceeds to combine beautiful, sweet ambient sounds to just immerse you totally in his sound. It's like voices and sounds that you recall from your past, like looking back hazily through time. I don't know how he manages to do it, but there is something magical about the music he makes.
From what other have said to me about Susumu Yokota's music, it seems to transcend all boundaries, his music can mean many things to many different people.
For all those who like electronica, then this has to be an album you must consider buying. Again the cover design is just delightful.
Warm and enchanting, the native wood, strings and keys pick and pluck away in layers of organic sound that ebb and pull, following loose rustic rhythms and magical melodies that touch you and take you to far away places. At times dark and mysterious and at others innocent and playful it really is like walking through a forest's dense undergrowth and dappled glades with mystical creatures and plants breathing with you on the journey.
This is my favourite album and I am an avid lover of most types of electronic music. It is minimal, and as such some listeners may not have the patience to fully appreciate this masterpiece. Indeed finding an appropriate time to listen can be difficult - it draws you in and deserves your full attention, which is a rare thing in modern electronic music. Producers buying this album will be listening with pricked ears. This is superior to most of Yakotas work in my opinion.
Let's see where it takes me after few more listens...looking forward to it!!!
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