Susumu Yokota : Grinning Cat

conjuring up the ghosts of a lost childhood

Graceful Japanese electronics

Sometimes in ambient electronica, intelligence and human warmth seem to be mutually exclusive. The more egg-headed the artist, the less the likelihood of them connecting on a visceral level – except through sheer noise. Former Tokyo resident turned suburban mystic Susumu Yokota blows any arcane theories out

of the water, however, with a modern metamusic that revels

in layering techniques.

Yokota claims to celebrate his immediate environment and nature, while conjuring up the ghosts of a lost childhood, but what is more apparent is the breadth of his devotion to musical forms, which manage to mangle jazz, classical piano, house and echoes of late-’70s post-punk, into a beguiling and distinct series of summer sketches.

There’s an accessibility here not normally associated with devotees of Steve Reich experiments, while the handclaps and bass pulse that lace ‘Cherry Blossom’ also point to an absence of sorts. The same absence, akin to a rhythm stripped of its heart (frequency-wise), makes ‘Lapis Lazuli’ a most intriguing proposition. Factor in ‘Card Nation”s superlative use of choral voices – like ’80s synth effluent reprocessed to signify emotion – and it’s obvious Yokota is on a completely different plane to his peers.

Dele Fadele