Susumu Yokota emerged in the early '90s as one of the most versatile and prolific electronic producers going.
In his native Japan, he was known for many years as a top-tier dance music talent, specializing in all varieties of house while dabbling in techno, electro, and trance for the Sublime
, and Planet Earth labels. Alternate aliases for his dance releases included Ringo, Prism, and Sonicstuff. While his dancefloor tracks were funky and playful with a heavy debt to epic disco -- he even covered Idris Muhammad
's underground disco classic "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" -- Yokota's ambient work unfolds with the patience of a butoh dance, all small gestures and gradually shifting layers of quiet sound. He gained international stature with home listeners and critics with the release of a series of well-received ambient albums on the U.K. label Leaf
, beginning in 1998 with Magic Thread, and following with Image: 1983-1998 (1999), Sakura (2000), Grinning Cat (2001), and The Boy and the Tree (2002). (Some of these releases originally appeared in small runs on Yokota's Skintone
label.) Releases for Lo Recordings
followed, including the Rothko
collaboration Distant Sounds of Summer (2005), Wonder Waltz (2006), Love or Die (2007), and Mother (2009). Also an accomplished DJ, Yokota leant his mixing skills to the 2001 label retrospective Leaf Compilation. After a period of ill health, Yokota died in March 2015 at the age of 54. ~ Mark Richardson, Rovi