The Japanese ambient pioneer’s well-deserved revival continues with a reissue of this 1986 cult classic, which feels like an inviting frame in which to project your own feelings.
Yoshimura, who died of cancer in 2003, was a polymath par excellence: composer, designer, historian. Most of his work existed in the overlap between sound, architecture, and everyday life, including installations and commissioned work for museums, hotels, runway shows, an aquarium, a sports stadium, the Tokyo and Kobe subway systems, and Osaka International Airport. Yoshimura’s activities made him one of the central figures of kankyō ongaku, or environmental music, a homegrown style that drew upon Erik Satie’s “furniture music” and Brian Eno’s ambient investigations, as well as centuries-old ritual traditions, to fashion a new kind of site-specific sound uniquely suited to Japan’s post-war economic boom.
Yet listeners outside Japan remained largely ignorant of Yoshimura’s legacy until the past decade, when people like Spencer Doran, of the Portland, Oregon, duo Visible Cloaks, began advocating for his work. In 2017, Doran and Maxwell August Croy’s Empire of Signs label reissued Music for Nine Postcards, helping kick off what has become a broad revival of formerly obscure Japanese ambient and electronic music; Doran also curated Light in the Attic’s 2019 compilation Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990. GREEN, originally released on Kazuo Uehara’s AIR Records in 1986, is not just a welcome addition to that retrospective catalog; a cult classic of growing acclaim (a YouTube upload of the album has been played more than two million times in just four years), it is crucial in fleshing out the portrait of a musician that many Westerners are only beginning to understand. - Pitchfork
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