Ryuichi Sakamoto, Fela Kuti & More: My Albums of the Week #24

I would consider myself an “albums guy” and my taste in music is very varied. In this new feature, I list the albums that I listened to most intensely during the week. The list will include albums old and new, and the number of albums listened to every week will most likely vary on a week-to-week basis.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
Thousand Knives
(Nippon Columbia, 1978)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Thousand Knives // 2 – Island of Woods // 3 – Grasshoppers // 4 – Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied // 5 – Plastic Bamboo // 6 – The End of Asia

Ryuchi Sakamoto’s first solo album, featuring beautiful and creative ’70s synth technology use, fusing international styles of music with Asian-sounding synth lines. The result is transcendental and exciting. While the opening and closing tracks are immediately pleasing, the wilder experimentation on other tracks, particularly “Island of Woods,” adds considerable conceptual weight.

 

Fela Kuti and Afrika 70
Opposite People
(Afrodisia, 1977)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Opposite People // 2 – Equalisation of Trouser and Pant

Fela Kuti’s usual format of two sidelong jams. “Opposite People” is a more upbeat rant against contrarian and among my favorite songs by the Afrobeat pioneer. “Equalisation of Trouser and Pant” is a slower number with some rock guitar influences.

 

Yu Su
Yellow River Blue
(BIE, 2021)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – Xiu // 2 – Futuro // 3 – Touch-Me-Not // 4 – Gleam // 5 – Malaleuca // 6 – Klein // 7 – Dusty // 8 – Melaleuca (At Night)

A little more interesting than the average contemporary ambient album. Nice aesthetics, compelling atmospheres. There are obvious highlights. “Klein” is particularly compelling – simultaneously haunting and chill.

 

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
K.G.
(self-released, 2020)

TRACKLIST (favorite tracks underlined): 1 – K.G.L.W. // 2 – Automation // 3 – Minimum Brain Size // 4 – Straws in the Wind // 5 – Some of Us // 6 – Ontology // 7 – Intrasport // 8 – Oddlife // 9 – Honey // 10 – The Hungry Wolf of Fate

Sophisticated garage rock with Anatolian tinges and psychedelic edges. The whole thing swifts like a suite with songs blending into each other to create one whole, complete with fuzzy soundscapes and unlikely, dissonance melody lines that will get stuck in your head. One of the best new rock releases I have heard in a while. Independent and visionary.

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