Ryuichi Sakamoto’s landmark debut album, recorded in 1977-78 shortly after co-founding Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi. Thousand Knives was recorded in the weird hours of the night, as Sakamoto was preoccupied with his work as an in-demand session musician during the day, and you can hear that weirdness, that relentless search for new sonic worlds straight away. To truly appreciate the brilliance of this record, you gotta understand how old it is - Saturday Night Fever had only come out one year prior, and Unknown Pleasures was still one year away… OLD, man! For a Japanese man to think he could pop with a vocoder-fied exotica romp like this in 1978, he may as well have just put on an Armani suit and climbed into the bath with an electric lamp. After a chilling recital of a poem (written by Chairman Mao) through a vocoder, Ryuichi switches on the full power grid for “Thousand Knives,” breaking completely unchartered but deliriously funky new ground. The bubblebath syndrums, brooding synth swells, prodiguous guitar solos and burpy reggae bassline all glue together like a robot band that’s been playing together for 1000 years - you are now listening to *das neue Japanische elektronische ish*. I could go on and on about the title track, but each of the album’s six tunes are a revelation, from textural sound design flex “Island Of Woods” to Kraftwerk-acknowledgement “Japanische elektronische Volkslied” and vivid synth funk earworm “Plastic Bamboo.” The ultra jazzy “Grasshoppers” intertwines a soulful piano performance with bluesy synth bass and a light sprinkling of arp licks, gently foreshadowing his obsession with the piano a little later in his career. Although we’ve been blessed with stacks of reissues from Yellow Magic Orchestra and Harry’s catalog as well as mid-career Sakamoto oddities, not to mention NUFF mindblowing ish from Sakamoto-san in the last few years alone, Thousand Knives is STILL our most wanted record in the YMO canon. Remastered from the original master tapes by renowned producer Seigen Ono, this clear mint colored pressing presented by Wewantsounds is exclusive to Turntable Lab and marks the first time the album has been available on vinyl outside of Japan in almost 40 years. Full color repro jacket with obi strip and 4 page insert, highly recommended.
- Turntable Lab exclusive
- clear mint colored vinyl
- includes custom obi strip + foldout insert
- limited edition of 300
- music label: Wewantsounds 2020
- TTL Editions 044
reviewed by sunrise mart 09/2019
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