Sth. Notional / Yawn Yawn Yawn / Archeo Recordings

For every person, each song holds a different story. This is mine for the classic that is Sth. Notional`s Yawn Yawn Yawn….

Phil Mison told me that he found the 12” somewhere in London. Possibly Vinyl Junkies on Berwick Street. I confess, I forget. Phil bought two copies and sent one to Moonboots. Which never arrived. An unknown light-fingered postman instead bathing in its Balearic bliss. Moonboots eventually scored a copy of the CD. Which is when I became involved. Moon emailed me the artwork and asked me to keep my eyes open in Tokyo. The trouble was that the vinyl and the CD have completely different sleeves. Discogs at that point only had the CD listed. So I didn`t really know what I was looking for. Then Cosmic Jane from the DJHistory.com forum got in touch. Forwarding me a link to a Shibuya store called, Yellow Pop. Asking me “Is this in stock?” And there it was in all its simple blue glory. In stock. For peanuts. I resisted that urge to stick it in my own basket, cursed him, kicked myself, and committed the image to memory. When I was living in the city I was digging at least a couple of times a week. Mainly for Japanese music. Some for personal. Some to sell. I was in a warehouse-sized shop named, Recofan, above the Manga mecca, Mandrake, a few blocks away from Yellow Pop, when I next saw that blue cover. For at least six months I`d been going through the same racks that I`d gone through the week before, and the week before that, and the week before that, …..I honestly couldn`t believe it when I pulled it out of pile of Major Force releases. I double-took. Stood there staring at it. Heart-racing. Did I pack it off to Moon? No, of course I didn`t. But I did find a second copy and sent that. I only ever found two. Looking at Discogs, the sales history states that the vinyl`s changed hands but once on the marketplace. For about $300. 

Sth Notional CD Art

To address this short-fall in supply Archeo Recordings have now licensed a “deluxe” reissue. Pulling together all the mixes from both the CD and 12”. Adding four new remixes. Across six sides of vinyl. 

The Dream Another Reality take of Yawn Yawn Yawn combines double-bass, piano, tabla, and surf. Violin and sighing cello. Chamber Music set adrift on the Pacific Ocean. With a cute vocal reciting poetry in Japanese and English. The G-Tar Cannyon Mix replays everything on six strings. Acoustic and electric. The Thankful Mix`s bongos bouncing to a more forceful bass-line chug. 

Beyond The Outside, in its Nature Mix, is briskly strummed, Funky Folk. Timmy Thomas keys and wah-wah guitar. Tethered to a post-Soul II Soul break. A la Suzanne Vega`s Tom`s Diner. While the Storm Mix plugs in and Rocks out. 

Song With No Words updates the David Crosby classic in much the same way as Major Force`s Love TKO did for Buffalo Springfield`s For What It`s Worth. The Summer Of Love set to stoned machines.

The remixes come from four different faces of Japan`s underground “dance” music scene. I put “dance” in quotation marks, since that`s a gross simplification of what these guys do. All of them veterans of both the 1s and 2s and production. 

Max Essa turns Beyond The Outside into the offspring of Electra`s Destiny. Kin to his own Portuguese Dusk. Adding cowbell, warm pads, and swapping the loops for live-sounding drums. Fragmenting the Folk. Re-focusing it as Flamenco. 

Kuniyuki also softens Song With No Words. Setting it to brushes and jazzy fills. Reintroducing Crosby`s original vocals, while blowing a muted, Noir horn. Gently stretching the track from four to nearly ten minutes of Seahawks-esque 21st Century Psychedelic Yacht Rock float. 

Organic Music`s Chee Shimzu gets Minimal. Retaining the “lub dub” of the tabla of Yawn Yawn Yawn`s fluttering happy heart. A proliferation of piano. But stripping away the strings.  In direct contrast, former United Future Organisation member, Tadashi Yabe, takes the same track and expertly smashes bells, bird-calls, Blues hollers, chants, children`s records, Family Stone-esque Funk, harps, horns, James Brown, Jon Hendricks, kalimbas, MC5-like testifying, opera, and public information broadcasts, into a crazy, collaged sample-delic spiritual. More Dada, somewhere between Buffalo Daughter and Mike Kandel`s Tranquility Bass. DJ Shadow if he were to channel Burroughs, Gysin, and Basquiat. Subverting the original`s serene, and waving its Freak Flag high. With a disregard for expectations. And rules. A musical magical mystery tour. Like The Beatles Revolution No. 9 set to a Balearic Beat. 

Reference Links

Timmy Thomas

Tom`s Diner 

Love TKO 

Electra 

Seahawks 

Buffalo Daughter

Tranquility Bass

Revolution No. 9 

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