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AKIKO YANO

TO KI ME KI (1978)

LP / CD  WEWANTSOUNDS

Release Date24 Nov 2023

LP      WWSLP73   3700604745310

CD     WWSCD73   3700604745327

 

AKIKO YANO’S CLASSIC 3rd STUDIO ALBUM FROM 1978, "TO KI ME KI" RECORDED IN NEW YORK AND AT BEARSVILLE STUDIO AND RELEASED OUTSIDE OF JAPAN FOR THE FIRST TIME.

 

Wewantsounds is proud to continue its Akiko Yano reissue series with the release of the singer's third studio album 'To Ki Me Ki', recorded in New York and originally issued in 1978 in Japan. It follows her cult "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" LP and retains a similar blend of Japanese pop and New York funk. "To Ki Me Ki" features such musicians as Rick Marotta, Will Lee and David Spinozza and also programmer Hideki Matsutake who would soon join the YMO with Akiko for their international 1979/1980 tour before she recorded her next studio album "Tadaima" that year, featuring the YMO musicians. "To Ki Me Ki" is reissued outside of Japan for the first time, remastered in Tokyo by revered engineer Mitsuo Koike and featuring original artwork by Tsutomu Murakami with 4 page colour insert and new liner notes by Paul Bowler.

1978 was a key year for Japanese Music. Yellow Magic Orchestra was about to release their ground-breaking debut album. All musicians involved had also released key solo albums that year (Sakamoto with "Thousand Knives", Takahashi with "Saravah" and Hosono with "Paraiso"). Akiko Yano (who would soon join the YMO on tour for their first international tour) was no exception, releasing the brilliant "To Ki Me Ki". Having started her career with a bang recording "Japanese Girl" in 1976 with Little Feat, Akiko had quickly established herself as a leading force on the Japanese music scene. 

"To Ki Me Ki" came hot on the heels of  her 2nd studio album, 1977's "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" (with its unforgettable dolphin cover), retaining its cool blend of sophisticated Japanese pop and New York funk sound. Recorded in New York at Power Station and Sound Ideas and at Bearsville Studio in Woodstock, the album features a glittering array of US session musicians including Rick Marotta and Steve Jordan on drums, Will Lee and Frank Blair on bass (Blair would go on to record with Marvin Gaye and Robert Palmer) plus Fania legend Nicky Marrero on percussion. Two key additions come in the form of synth programmers Hideki Matsutake who had worked with Isao Tomita and who would soon become YMO's unofficial fourth member and Roger Powell, a Robert Moog protege who was playing with Todd Rundgren's Utopia group at the time.

Together Akiko and her musicians concocted a superb mix of diverse styles ranging from funk ("Two on the Stage" and "To Ki Me Ki"), Latin ("Uo Sao" featuring Marrero's distinctive percussion) in addition to slower songs such as "Kodomo Tachi" and "Andante Cantabile," all showcasing Akiko's beautiful piano playing, unique singing and unparalleled knack for composing catchy songs.

 

A superb album brimming with great melodies and inventive instrumentation, "To Ki Me Ki" is a key works in Akiko's discography, issued just before she embarked on the YMO adventure and recorded her landmark album "Tadaima" in a radical shift of sound. Wewantsounds is therefore glad to bring this essential album to the international audience, another jewel in the great Akiko Yano's body of work.

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