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Ayami Yo-ko - s/t
CD-R (Tottori, Japan)



-one's first love that it tore
-promise(yubikiri genmann)
-the room of the desire
-the girl wet in the rain
-the toy of love greed




Recorded 9/2002

Reviews:
(All Music Guide) Behind the name Ayami Yo-ko hides one man, guitarist and singer Satoru Kadowaki. This eponymous album introduced his music to American underground audiences, thanks to the Nebraska-based label Public Eyesore. His music is best described as psychedelic outsider folk. In a nutshell, Kadowaki strums chords on his reverb-drenched guitar while howling off-key melodies. Sounds amateur? Not at all, although the clash between highly conservative chord changes and spacy, Keiji Haino-esque vocal flights has something very uncomfortable to it. The comparison with Haino stands: both men weave their own unique soundworlds, both convey strong emotions in their singing. But Kadowaki¹s guitar playing and song structures stick closer to Kan Mikami¹s. Yet I don¹t think Vajra¹s leader has ever used this much reverb in his voice. There is something resolutely progressive about these songs. Many stretch over eight minutes and go through a complex maze of sections. No matter how much (intentionally) out of tune Kadowaki sings, his voice propels the music forward, both gripping the listener¹s attention and provoking the changes in the guitar -- much like in Syd Barrett¹s solo songs. This listener doesn¹t understand Japanese, but the topics sound painful and melancholic. Even when the singer hits the "La la la" section in "The Toy of Love Greed," the idea of flower-power beauties never crosses your mind. This album is utterly strange, at first repulsive but insidiously seductive on the long run. - François Couture

(Neo-zine) Guitars and vocals, with ethereal effect giving these songs quite a dreams surrealism that speaks more to me than the lyrics (which I cannot understand due to my damnable monolingual education.) Song titles include “One’s First Love That Is Tore,” “Promise,” “The Room Of The Desire,” “The Girl Wet In The Rain,” and “The Toy Of Love Greed.” Hope that gives you a some idea. This singer has more passion than a teenage suicide pact. He just howls like he’s crying the bloody tears of the forlorn. Its wrenching, slightly experimental, slow, often simple, but earnest and genuine. - C.H.C.

(Indieville 5/25/2003) Off-tune moaning over atonal guitars or the perfect pop album? You tell me. Ayami Yo-ko, whose real name is Satoru Kadowaki, is a guitarist and singer from Japan. His style of music is deliberately experimental, his "songs" consist mainly of Japanese lyrics sung atonally over a bed of barely accessible guitarwork. It's folk music for a different planet. The heavy use of reverb suggests an almost ethereal atmosphere, but also seems to reference a sort of sixties aesthetic. This psychedelic style is furthered by the few guitar solos, which almost sound like Blue Cheer stretched lengthwise almost to the point of breaking (especially the one in the latter half of "The Girl Wet in the Rain"). When you've had a long, hard day, and you just want to relax, this album will find its place. Turn off all the lights, pop this disc into your stereo, lie back, and... HELLO AND WELCOME TO JUPITER. - Matt Shimmer

(Splendid Ezine 7/8/2003) What's the Japanese word for "cathartic"? If you happened to miss that day at school, then how would you say "One's First Love That Is Tore" or "The Toy Of Love Greed" in English? Stumped again? Just ask Ayami Yo-ko, singer/songwriter of this curious little self-titled (and poetically translated) EP of guitar-based, Japanese-language ballads. Maybe Mr. Yo could answer our questions, but I seriously doubt he'd be able to convey his answers to us in any meaningful way. No, he seems much more intent on opening his can of emotional worms in a non-communicative, overly introverted manner -- part primal scream, part plain old yawn. Like a half-baked opera -- or more appropriately, a half-hearted stab at Noh theater angst -- Yo-ko plucks plaintively at his guitar, sometimes achieving a fairly pleasing timbre, occasionally even recalling a Weld-era Neil Young ("The Room Of The Desire"), but eventually ending up with little more than antiseptic pathos and impotent rage. I can't claim to be well-enough versed in Japanese culture to contextualize this disc, but I do know enough music-wise to assume this is intended to be a take on the "inner life" and its "big emotions". My advice to readers would be to leave this disc alone, unless you feel the need to know someone else's mixed emotions. - Rob Guthrie

(Dead Angel no. 59) One guy with a voice and a guitar and an enormous love of spacious reverb and efx processing. Vocally he's very much from the Alchemy psych axis, and her sound is largely shrieking ambient guitar and heavily-reverbed drones, all of which occasionally explodes into bursts of jagged white noise. Some extremely high-quality drones going on here, along with lots of trippy guitar lines that lead to nowhere, reverberating endlessly before dying out, and above it all, that mysterious guy voice doing her thing in Japanese. Heavenly sounds. Five tracks and they are all good. Public Eyesore soundly defeats the forces of evil one more time. - RKF

(Aiding & Abetting no. 245) Just electric guitar and voice, and decidedly strange voice and guitar at that. Reminds me a bit of a Japanese Loren MazzaCane Connors, though these pieces are stranger and generally more out there. A trip only for the most daring. - Jon Worley

(Blastitude no. 17) Put this on and the influence of Keiji Haino is immediately in the room with you. One Japanese man strumming an electric guitar with effects on it, singing high lonesome songs from some void of solitude, occasionally breaking into loud guitar heaven-leads from hell. Then again, the tone of the voice goes into different territory than Haino, less like a (fallen) angel crying, more like a human crying. In that sense, this is more 'normal' than Haino, a little poppier, if you could say that, but then again the songs are all around 10 minutes long, which isn't poppy at all. And I don't know what's going with track two, where he actually seems to mewl the entire song, and quite a lost ballad it is. Dare I say . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the Japanese Jandek? At least the Japanese Dead Raven Choir. - Matt Silcock

(Ampersand Etcetera 7/2005) Public Eyesore have strong connections with the Japanese music scene - evidenced in this selection and previously. Ayami gives us five songs, his solo voice accompanied by the guitar. Opening with One¹s first love that it tore, an emotional plea over full, musical guitar, which screams in feedback pain halfway through the song, which continues in this more noise-experimental vein before returning briefly to light at the end. The other longer songs (10m+) follow a similar trajectory (with different effects), the shorter one (Promise, 6m) misses the explosion. The voice is powerful within the angst and the guitar mostly melodic and well controlled - torch songs for the third millennium. - Jeremy Keens

(Dead Angel 7/2005) This disc makes an excellent companion to the Masami Kawaguchi disc reviewed elsewhere in this issue; in a weird sort of way, Yako is the yin to Kawaguchi's yang (or is that the other way around?), with five songs of solo guitar and (unusual) voice. Like Kawaguchi, her vocal stylings are unique and may well be a bit too alien for Western ears, and like Kawaguchi, she has a minimalist and idiosyncrastic approach to guitar. She favors more processing on her guitar, however, and frames her songs in a more melodic context that's less about rhythmic propulsion and more about harmonic possibilities. She also has a somewhat disconcerting habit of stopping unexpectedly, pausing, and resuming that can seem unnecessarily abrupt until it becomes more familiar to the ear. The reverb on her guitar is so heavy that her single-note lines tend to sound like church bells, which lends a near-religious feel to most of the five long tracks here. Despite the start and stop nature of her songs, the feel is generally restrained, even soothing, and once the listener grows accustomed to her odd vocal style, might well come to view this as an album of avant-garde lullabies. This is the sound of Japanese neo-folk captured in an enormous echo chamber. Strange, exotic, otherworldly stuff. - RKF

(Broken Face) First out is Japanese singer and guitarist Satoru Kadowaki who works under Ayami Yo-ko moniker. His folk-tinged rawness and psychedelic noise draws comparisons to countrymen such as Shuji Inaba as well as Keijo Haino. Effect-laden guitar beauty morphs into shards of feedback and in many cases we find Kadowaki’s lunatic (almost uncomfortable) and atonal vocals providing an intensely hovering spirit on top of it all. I think someone described these evocative sounds as a Japanese version of Jandek and to some degree I think that’s a very accurate choice of words. - Mats Gustafsson


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