The legendary Yellow Magic Orchestra’s classic second album Solid State Survivor is available on vinyl again! A major synth-pop progenitor here: so influential that even if you’ve not heard it directly, you’ve probably heard something that covers or samples it. A really fun record, reissued on clear vinyl in an edition of 1000.
9/10 Matt Nida Customer review, 10th November 2015
This is the album where YMO started to prove what they could do as a *band*. Their debut was terrific, but it rightly has the feel of a project/concept LP from a collective of talented session musicians keen to flex their muscles and do something a bit different.
It's with Solid State Survivor that Yellow Magic Orchestra really comes into focus; while the three members are very much doing their own thing (there are no co-writes here - Sakamoto contributes three songs, Hosono and Takahashi two apiece with a Beatles cover to round things out), their blend of exotica, disco, electronics and humour hits critical mass. The first side is driving and relentless (almost to the point of being overwhelming) - front loading the LP with Technopolis, Absolute Ego Dance and Rydeen (all classics) is a dazzlingly confident move, daring the listener to try and keep up with their hi-tech, widescreen techno optimism. Side two calms down a little bit, but there's still a restless invention and cocky virtuosity at play - the Day Tripper cover is almost slapdash in its knowing iconoclasm, and Behind The Mask still sounds more vital here than the many subsequent covers attempted by westerners over the years.
For my money, YMO's most interesting albums are their 'middle period' records (BGM and Technodelic, which are definitely reissue-worthy), but but at their best they manage to be all things to all people - whether you're looking for dumb disco fun, sophisticated pioneering electronics or sly commentary on national stereotypes. And the sleeve (with the band one-upping Kraftwerk by taking the robots out on a date) is the icing on the cake. Killer.
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- Solid State Survivor by Yellow Magic Orchestra
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