Friday, January 10, 2014

Akiko Yano

Unlike most of the other "Naughty Girls" who ended up at Yen Records in the early eighties, Yano wasn't interested in playing surreal games with celebrity and self image (Togawa), or with recreating herself as an exotic intellectual from an idealized nowhere (Ohnuki, Koshi). Instead she opted to succeed Yumi Matsutoya as an expert craftsman of cutting-edge pop epics, dazzling for their sincerity, ingenuity and scale. Thanks to her virtuosic piano and synthesizer work (often in duet with sometime husband Ryuichi Sakamoto), her  records have a grandiose quality mostly missing from the YMO universe. It's all held together by the filigree of her vocals though, a strange combination of equal parts teenager and matron. Comparisons to Kate Bush are inevitable, but Yano got there first. She continues to record and play internationally.


El Jaguar Del Bandoneon (Columbia, 1987)

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