Boomkat Product Review:
Seminal 1981 release from YMO, perhaps their finest album. produced by Haruomi Hosono and heavily featuring the 808. The title BGM stands for "Background Music" and stands as one of YMO most astute, perfect synthpop albums.
A masterpiece of early ‘80s techno-pop, YMO’s seminal 4th studio album is given a very necessary repress, remastered from high res audio files of the original masters and cut to wax for the enjoyment of a new generation and no doubt to replace a few well-loved original copies.
BGM (1981) found Haruomi Hosono, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Yukihiro Takahashi a.k.a. YMO really come into their own after emerging as one of the biggest electronic acts in Japan, or the Eastern hemisphere for that matter, with an early trio of albums that caught fire in both their own domestic market, and farther afield in America and Western Europe.
Famed for some of the earliest use of a Roland TR-808 throughout the album, as well as innovative computer programming and its updates of two songs from band-member Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Thousand Knives (1978) album, the playfully groovesome BGM is intricately woven with minor key arrangements which, upon release, were widely heralded as a turning point from their more frivolous earlier work.
Aside from the dodgy relic of Rap Phenomena, the rest of the record is definitive YMO, bearing no small resemblance to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s work with Japan’s David Sylvian, or most explicitly Japan’s Tin Drum album in the album opener Ballet, whilst Happy End trades int he kind of computerised harmonic strangeness that tickles our tonsils, and Camouflage is essentially a slick prototype for so, so much electronic funk, thanks to its punctilious early employment of the Roland TR-808, which, of course, was invented and manufactured in Japan.