Thursday, October 19, 2006

Bamboo Houses

Day four of digitized vinyl "ripped from the '80s" delivers an electronic twelve inch gem...

David Sylvian is a long time favorite of mine. I was (and still am) a fan of his band Japan, both their early rockist years and the later years when it was all about artful experimentation, tasteful electronics and Eastern fascination. While the band was finding success in the early '80s one of their boosters (and often a contributor to Japan albums) was Ryuichi Sakamoto. A whiz at the keys, he was already known for his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra, and was also building a career as a solo artist. In between their busy recording schedules they found time to collaborate, and a few of their songs got released as singles. The best known is the ambient ballad Forbidden Colours from 1983, which was part of the soundtrack for the film Merry Christmas Mr.Lawrence. The other joint collaboration to get a release was the double A sided single for Bamboo Houses and Bamboo Music from 1982. Bamboo Music is an uptempo vocal track with much Eastern flavor and skittery beats, while Bamboo Houses is largely instrumental, built on a precise, offbeat rhythm track and full of pretty gong-like keyboard sounds and washes of ambient synth. David does sing a bit towards the end, but it's only one verse. I have always really loved the vibe of this tune, from the beats to the melody. A kickin' double A side.

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