any psychedelic albums purport to take you on a musical journey. The first release from the duo Yoshimi and Yuka seems to be one of the first ambient psychedelic albums to both take the listener on a journey and provide documentation of one that the artists took themselves. The group partially recorded the album in a car on a car trek towards a mountain temple in Japan. When the duo got to the temple they continued to record their playing, using the field recordings of live instruments and birds to create the basis of Flower With No Color. When the novelty of the recording techniques wear off, however, all is left is the music.
Yoshimi and Yuka, if you weren’t aware before, are members of the relatively famous Japanese bands the Boredoms and Cibo Matto. The music contained herein could be classified as much closer to the Boredoms style of experimentation, as opposed to Cibo Matto’s quirky pop constructions. But we aren’t talking about manic noise experiments and headache inducing madness, rather the tone is a subdued one- much closer to someone like Nuno Canavarro. On “La Donna Ni Demo des Kinna”, the Canavarro reference is almost unmistakable. Tinkly unstructured keyboards, synthetic sounding flutes, and the sound of birds chirping mix with an untreated voice to create an alien, yet inviting aural landscape.
Another obvious reference point here is the work of Flim, especially his first album, Given to Nothing. On “Mow Deck in Eye” the piano plays a rich melodic line, while playing against an almost sedate and tribal sounding rhythm section. It is the sound of willful naivete, the sound of two musicians playing exactly what they feel without any fear of the consequences. Which, of course, makes this album hard to critique. Obviously the playing on the disc is of significant quality- the musicians come from highly trained and storied backgrounds.
But, for the most part, the disc maintains a sense of distance to the listener. Unable to move much past the story of the album, the music suffers from the fact that there is little engagement with a listening audience. Conflict rarely arises during the course of the proceedings, rather it is one long introduction to something far greater. Unfortunately for the listener, this introduction lasts much of the disc, preventing any but the most interested of listeners the chance to engage with what could have been a fruitful combination of pop and experiment. Instead we have experiment, which is nice, but certainly doesn’t justify the price of most listeners’ time.