Yukihiro Takahashi - Neuromantic Music Album Reviews

Yukihiro Takahashi - Neuromantic Music Album Reviews
Reissued on vinyl for the first time in four decades, the Yellow Magic Orchestra drummer and vocalist’s 1981 solo album isolates his infectious hooks, powerful rhythms, and modern pop sensibility.

Released only a few months after Yellow Magic Orchestra’s legendary BGM, Yukihiro Takahashi’s 1981 solo album, Neuromantic, attempted to isolate what the group’s drummer and lead vocalist brought to the table. “I wanted to see what would happen if I pulled out only my own part,” Yukihiro Takahashi told music editor Yuji Tanaka in an interview. The album’s title gestures to Takahashi’s fascination with the UK’s New Romantic cultural moment of the early ’80s, while also doubling as a wry pun on his “neurotic” desire for self-expression. A fully formed expression of an artist on the bleeding edge of a revolutionary movement, Neuromantic—reissued on vinyl for the first time in four decades—functions as a process document illustrating the inner workings of one essential piece of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s futuristic machine.

To make Neuromantic, Takahashi took a pilgrimage to London with English DJ and YMO associate Peter Barakan in tow, seeking to collaborate with musicians from the UK. Tony Mansfield of synthpop group New Musik was tapped to provide backing vocals and keys (New Musik’s 1979 hit “Living by Numbers” was a favorite of Takahashi’s), and Phil Manzanera and Andy Mackay of Roxy Music—the group credited as a primary inspiration for the New Romantic movement—offered their talents too. “Drip Dry Eyes,” which Takahashi previously penned for YMO protégé Sandii, wouldn’t have sounded too out of place on Roxy’s Flesh and Blood from the year before, with Takahashi giving his best approximation of Bryan Ferry’s silky voice. But there’s something extra here that sets it apart: Takahashi drums with the rigidity of a seasoned session-player-turned-technophile, and YMO bandmates Haruomi Hosono and Ryuichi Sakamoto lend a hand, imbuing the track with their signature alien synthesizers.

While the other two YMO members appear occasionally on the album, this is Takahashi’s chance to shine, and what comes through clearest is his modern pop sensibility. Gone is Sakamoto’s experimental edge and Hosono’s folksy Americana, leaving only a powerful focus on rhythm and infectious hooks. On “Connection,” Takahashi’s drums roll in over a soaring guitar riff and percussive, stabbing synth as he croons a lament: “I haven’t got a clue/How to connect with you.” The instrumental “New (Red) Roses” sounds more like a typical Yellow Magic Orchestra number—de facto fourth band member Kenji Omura shares a writing credit—unfurling yet another helix of the group’s DNA. Its thumping beat shuffles along in a triumphant march, underpinned by warbling synth. The track is heavily reminiscent of Solid State Survivor’s “Rydeen,” which was, of course, also a Takahashi cut.

Neuromantic’s original working title of Ballet—a name it would have shared with BGM’s opening track, which Takahashi composed—speaks to a prescient understanding of the need to iterate on YMO’s innovations while they were fresh. Takahashi was fully aware that he was in the center of a revolution, and acted quickly to place his personal handprint on the moment before it crystallized. “BGM on the radio,” Takahashi sings on “Extra-Ordinary,” nodding to the popularity of Neuromantic’s sister album; it’s partially a victory lap, but also a signal that he wasn’t finished pushing the envelope.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Yukihiro Takahashi - Neuromantic Music Album Reviews Yukihiro Takahashi - Neuromantic Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on December 20, 2021 Rating: 5


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