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on 26 June 2005
I gradually fell in love with Sakura, and to be honest, i was anxious about buying any other Susumu album in case it didn't meet my expectations. Those of you who own Sukura will know that it is one of the most delicate yet powerful albums in existence. Remeniscent of Brian Eno and Harold Budd but with a modern edge and ever so slightly more up tempo.
I have experienced Grinning Cat, but found that a tricky listen. After that i decided to stick with Sakura and passed by The boy and The Tree many a time (although i may have to take a step back and purchase that now...)but when i saw Symbol- impulse got hold of me.
What a unique album- difficult to categorize. Much of the album stems from well known classical tunes and then cascades into something totally unexpected.
This is an album (like Sakura) to take everywhere with you. It is a travelling companion. It will become the soundtrack to your mind. A fantastic listen when on a train, flying through the country, and equally fitting, in the city, people watching. With this album i feel i am on a journey.
If you want a challenge, buy this. Or buy it for someone whom you want to challenge. The challenge will be enjoyed.
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on 1 January 2006
After the previous Susumu albums I was prepared for some more brilliance but this blew me away. Very difficult to categorise and different from his other efforts but I loved it. Imagine some easily recogniseable classic tunes ('The Nutcracker') and then mixed in with some smooth beats and shaken up with some ghostly female vocals and you come close to it. Musical smoothness and coolness. Loved it.
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on 12 August 2005
Are you old enough to remember classics on 45? Some bright spark had the idea to put a drum beat to collages of classical music and release it as singles. They did quite well in the charts but I don't know why. Well, Symbol is a bit like that but its far more intelligent and sophisticated than classics on 45. What you have to ask yourself is what does this treatment add to the classical music that is being used or is it just being sampled? Whilst the album has a very wide range of musical references quite a few of the tracks are badly let down by poor drum programming resulting in repetitive percussion backing. Also some of tracks feel poorly developed and end rather unsatisfactorily. Whilst there is great invention here this release lacks the maturity or development of some of Yokota's better work such as Laputa or Sakura.
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on 30 August 2012
This could have gone so horribly wrong, taking excerpts of classical music and using them in something else is a recipe for disaster. And as previously mentioned these are the sweetest of extracts so even more danger lurking. But no, he's managed to come up with something that is captivating and at times beautiful, notably the oriental-sounding pieces. And rather than ruining the classical pieces its affect is to make me want to put the originals on AND listen to this album. I especially love the rhythms he creates, particularly the looping mallets (Steve Reich?); it's another album I had to ration myself on so as not to 'wear it out' so to speak.

Beware though, this album gave me the worst case of earworm I have ever had, it lasted about a week and might be coming back...
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on 10 April 2007
I am just in the middle of the album - sitting at my desk, listening to the track Nr. 6. I have to say it is drawing my attention more than the albums I have heard so far (Grinning Cat, Sakura). Yokota has the typical signature that makes you feel different everytime you listen to any of his works. I have been thinking about getting into classical music but never found the courage....Maybe after this listen...

Meanwhile I've proceeded to the track Nr. 7 and it is a great piece of music - very ecclectic in the good sense of the word. I like this album - it has the spiritual feeling combined with quite a handful of modern approach.
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on 6 April 2007
Yokota loops and adds beats to well-known classical works, mostly late romantic period (late 19th-early 20th century, Rachmaninoff, etc), with much sampling also from the works of John Cage and Meredith Monk. Unfortunately his choice of samples is obvious to those familiar with the originals, and I also find them to be the most saccharine examples of "classical" music ("Nutcracker", anyone?). And apart from repeating and combining his loops, Yokota does little to develop individual tracks, resulting in an album full of tracks which whirl on the spot and then (mostly) stop dead. It's quite fun playing spot the sample, but apart from that this is not one of Yokota's stronger works, and one I rarely play.
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