Boomkat Product Review:
Premier vinyl edition of the Japanese ambient and deep house legend's 2004 album on vinyl for the first time, all 10 tracks intact for optimal immersion in his pulsating delicacies - RIYL DJ Sprinkles, Dego, Herbert, DJ Nobu
A standout title in the illustrious oeuvre of Susumu Yokota (1960-2015), ‘Baroque’ stands practically equidistant to his earliest and final works, and marks a highpoint of creativity stretching from strident minimal techno to ambient electro-jazz, gritty acidic broken beats and offbeat experiments. The album’s 10 tracks play out a subtle shading of emotion that manifest Yokota’s attempt to “express ki-do-ai-raku (the four emotions: joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness) through music. I would like to express even one’s hidden emotion with reality. It’s my eternal goal” as he pulls from and refines a spectrum of golden era ‘90s dance music, as well as ambient, folk and contemporary classical, into a ‘Baroque’ form of techno.
Arriving at a crest of mid ‘00s minimalist house and techno, the album finely tempers those forms with a masterful regard for rugged groove and filigree construction. Opener ‘Deformed Pearl’ dances on the edge of far eastern folk classical, electro and tech-house with tongue-tip appreciation of texture and below-the-belt heft that distinguishes the rest of the record. ‘Deep Sea Dive’ sloshes somewhere between Jan Jelinek’s jazzy sensuality and Porter Ricks’ subaquatic dynamics, while ‘Gemstones’ sounds like Chi-house transposed to period Japanese drama, and ‘Keel’ trades in rudest mutation of blues, minimal classical and broken beats beside clear echoes of DJ Sprinkles in ‘Re.’ ‘Royal Flush’ locates the LP’s deepest fusions of ambient house with courtly, modal, minimal classical flourishes, and, for excellent measure, the sparking breaks and elegant strings of ’Spinner’ and the depth charge throb to ‘Nacre’ keep it refreshingly rugged yet puckered, like Richie Hawtin meets Steve Reich, and crucially with grit and texture in the mix that would be polished out in successive waves of minimal tech.