- Susumu Yokota has chosen an unusual path that revisits, contemplates, and deconstructs his own past. SAKURA completes the trilogy that began with Yokota's incipient IMAGE and reconciliatory MAGIC THREAD, bringing the re-enlightened artist to a new level of consciousness and musical mastery.
- SAKURA opens with the elegant, Eno/Lanois-like melodic movements of "Saku," "Hagoromo," and "Tobiume," but gradually reveals Yokota's grander designs. SAKURA marries the softly thrumming electronic/acoustic weave of IMAGE with MAGIC THREAD's probing pulses and unraveled rhythms, realigning the elements of Yokota's dance-floor craft. But Yokota doesn't simply add beats; he unfolds the geometry of his music, preparing it to receive rhythm. "Gekkoh" and "Hisen" tenderly reassemble Yokota's exquisite musical matrices around these complementary beat-and-pulse patterns. Yet SAKURA is imperfect--body and soul without spirit--until "Kodomotachi" re-absorbs IMAGE's stray vocal ghosts into the music's reunified structures. At SAKURA's climax, Yokota celebrates the rebirth of his music, and art and artist rejoice in a new completeness. The exultant jazz of "Naminote" and the reflective benedictions of "Shinsen" and "Kirakiraboshi" end Yokota's brilliant cycle of introspection and transfiguration on a soaring spiritual high.
Q (12/00, p.136) - 4 stars out of 5 - "...Sees the 'Japanese Eno' at the peak of his powers....dealing in shifting, luminescent sound fields and makes a virtue of repetition....An exquisitely chilled delight."
Uncut (10/00, p.92) - 3 stars out of 5 - "...Exquisite spiralling threads of sound weaving a gently stained ambient canvas..."
The Wire (10/00, p.78) - "...Truly amazing, a perfectly poised amalgam of easygoing chill out and laid-back warmth..."
Muzik (10/00, p.79) - 4 out of 5 - "...Touches on various genres - deep house, techno, jazz and even 'modem classical' - but deftly kneads them into a unique, organic entity that renders reference points redundant..."