Coming on like Yellow Magic Orchestra is never a bad thing. For those of you too young to have bathed in the glorious glow of YMO, they were a Japanese three piece — comprised of Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yukihiro Takahashi and Haruomi Hosono — whose delightfully eccentric and innovative takes on synthpop were revolutionary. Songs like "Rydeen" and "Behind the Mask" were every bit as important as Kraftwerk's motor-fixated machinations in the creation of what went onto be known as techno. Do yourself a favor, actually, and go and listen to Solid State Survivor and BGM right now.
No, actually, before you do that, tune into this exclusive stream of contemporary Japanese threesome CRYSTAL's debut full length LP Crystal Station 64. Having accrued releases on Teki Latex's legendary Institubes imprint, the trio — Ryota Miyake, Keita Onishi and Sunao Maruyama — have decided to join forces with Tokyo based label flau for the album. If you've heard their previous material, you'll sort of know what to expect. If you haven't, that man Teki sums it up pretty nicely. "Crystal's mixture of YMO-esque Nippon naive pop and Kraftwerkian-influenced beats tends to accidentally give birth to a romantic sound very reminiscent of Latin Freestyle." If that's not enticing, I don't know what is.
Put simply, Crystal Station 64 is one of the most fun records we've heard in years. It exudes sheer exuberance, delights in providing the listener with layer upon layer of candy-coated aural pleasure. Chiptune chime and chirrup, synth stabs float free and flutter, arpeggiated basslines ripple and rumble. Each track is stuffed to the brim with the kind of sonic invention that kind of (gently) forces you into sitting there, slack hawed but still smiling (somehow). It's post-internet-boss-battle-bachelor-pad-music at its very, very best. From the MSN Messenger aping "Start Up" through to the Fairlight fancies of "Fast Fashion" and beyond, Crystal Station 64 is a stunner.
Crystal Station 64 is released via flau on 30th October. You can order it here.