Yellow Magic Orchestra

ARTIST: Yellow Magic Orchestra
YEAR: 1978
STYLE: Early Electronic, Synth, Disco

Yellow Magic Orchestra's debut album is by far my favorite. It leans more heavily into a funky/disco sound rather than the synth-pop style they helped pioneer in the years following.


ARTIST: nobonoko
YEAR: 2023
STYLE: Early Electronic, Synth

Under the alias of David Wojciechowski & Victor Fritzsche, nobonoko brings an album with a convincing backstory about how it was a 1978 release by two fictitious musicians with a background in film/TV scoring and funk, going for "a haunting, slightly dark yet serene atmosphere." I genuinely believed it to be a 1978 release at first, the sound and composition is very convincing. Puzzle is my favorite track off of this one.


ARTIST: Hiroshi Sato & Wendy Matthews
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: City Pop

Pure mellow bliss, with Say Goodbye being the outstanding track of this album.

RePorpoised Phantasies

ARTIST: Machine Girl
YEAR: 2020
STYLE: Electronic, Breakcore, DnB

In my opinion, Machine Girl is at their best when they focus on their electronic sound more so than their punk stuff. This album and their OST for Neon White are among my personal favorites.


YEAR: 1980
STYLE: Synth-Pop

When early synth-pop groups come up, usually Kraftwerk and Yellow Magic Orchestra are the main groups discussed. Telex doesn't get the credit they deserve. Favorite tracks include My Future and their cover of Ann Steel's My Time.


ARTIST: Test Pattern
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: Synth-Pop

Another lesser known synth-pop album, Après-Midi would be the only album put out by the group. This album was produced by Haroumi Hosono and Masao Hiruma and is very minimalist, but you can still hear similarities in composition to some of Yellow Magic Orchestra's songs (this is particularly evident when listening to their song "Crescent Moon" compared to YMO's "Simoon.") The few other songs Test Pattern put out can be found on Yen Manifold Vol. 1.

Ride on Time

ARTIST: Tatsuro Yamashita
YEAR: 1980
STYLE: City pop, funk, rock

This album exemplifies the exceptional soundscape of 80s Japanese music.

The Best of Naked Eyes

ARTIST: Naked Eyes
YEAR: 1991
STYLE: Synth-Pop

80s pop hits and the Brits go hand in hand, Naked Eyes is no exception. Between Always Something There to Remind Me, No Flowers Please, and Promises, Promises there is no shortage of bangers.

Good Morning America

ARTIST: 猫 シ Corp.
YEAR: 2017
STYLE: Vaporwave

I got this on cassette on a whim and it did not dissapoint. Before my portable Sony cassette player gave out, I would listen to this on early mornings and watch the sunrise from my dorm.

News at 11

ARTIST: 猫 シ Corp.
YEAR: 2016
STYLE: Vaporwave

While Floral Shoppe is the most iconic vaporwave album, News at 11 is the most profound to come out of the genre. The album uses sound samples entirely from TV broadcasts that played on September 11th, 2001, including news report soundbites taking place right before the first plane hit the WTC. It's an eerie album centered around the event that many see as the end of a prosperous era.
I highly recommend watching this music video that pairs the album and its news/commercial samples with the original clips and sights of pre-9/11 New York City.

Imaginary Voyage

ARTIST: Jean-Luc Ponty
YEAR: 1976

Say what you want about NPR, but their local programming can be a goldmine for finding music. I heard a track from this playing late one night on a McDonalds run, it sounded vaguely famaliar (I thought it may have been from his album Mystical Adventures, Ponty's use of the acoustic violin is very distinct after all.) Side A is seperate tracks, and Side B is broken into several parts with a strong emphasis on improvisation.


ARTISTS: Haroumi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki, Tatsuro Yamashita & More
YEAR: 1978
STYLE: Mellow

The greatest musical talent in Japan, all working on one of the most mellow albums of all time. This is the first in the CBS/SONY Sound Image Series of albums, all of which are worth checking out.

Off Shore

ARTISTS: Haroumi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki, Tatsuro Yamashita, Ryuichi Sakamoto & More
YEAR: 1983
STYLE: Funk, Fusion

Another entry into the CBS/SONY Sound Image Series, this album is a little less tropical than Pacific and leans more into the fusion side, but still worth a listen if you want some driving music.

Seaside Lovers ‎– Memories In Beach House

ARTISTS: Masataka Matsutoya, Akira Inoue, Hiroshi Sato
YEAR: 1983
STYLE: Easy Listening, Mellow

This entry into the CBS/SONY Sound Image Series lacks Hosono/Yamashita/Sakamoto but instead headlines Hiroshi Sato. This album was a goldmine for vaporwave samples, but it can feel like cheesey on-hold music at times, so be prepared for that, definetly a different vibe from the other albums in this series.

All of Me

ARTISTS: Masayoshi Takanaka
YEAR: 1979
STYLE: Jazz Fusion

I am a terribly cynical person, but god damn this album never fails to put me in a good mood. The first half of this album is solid, and perfect to put on after Pacific.

Vicious Pink

ARTISTS: Vicious Pink
YEAR: 1986
STYLE: Pop, Dance

A feminine album, but a guilty pleasure. One of many solid productions by Tony Mansfield.


ARTISTS: New Musik
YEAR: 1981
STYLE: Downtempo Synth-Pop

Speaking of Tony Mansfield...his group New Musik provides a mix of upbeat, pop melodies and chilled out, downtempo beats in this album.


ARTISTS: New Muzik
YEAR: 1986
STYLE: Pop Rock, Synth-pop

Another chill Tony Mansfield production and the follow up to Sanctuary.

Mista Don't Play: Everythangs Workin

ARTISTS: Project Pat
YEAR: 2001
STYLE: Memphis Rap

Speaking from personal experience, this album is best enjoyed while drinking cheap bourbon with your homies in your rundown apartment.

The Single

ARTISTS: Children Of The Corn
YEAR: 1995
STYLE: Memphis Rap, Horrorcore

Legend has it that this album (along with others in the Memphis rap scene) served as demonic sigils to manifest success, fame, and fortune through capturing the evil energy of ritualistic murders. It may or may not be true, but the album certainly has that vibe to it.

Corrupt From The Get Go

ARTISTS: MC Holocaust
YEAR: 2017
STYLE: Memphis Rap, Horrorcore

It's an album by a guy who goes by "Master of Ceremonies Holocaust" that's all you really need to know...if you want something that at times feels vaguely like a fusion between Machine Girl and Vaporwave then check this out

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde

ARTISTS: The Pharcyde
YEAR: 1992
STYLE: Hip Hop

While this album's most well known song, Passin me By, is a chill track, the rest is just crazy fun. The word play on Oh Shit is pretty funny. But Return of the B-Boy is right, burn the mother fucker down!

The Move of Life

ARTISTS: Windsor Riley
YEAR: 1988
STYLE: Ambient, New Age

I really wish Windsor Riley put out more albums, this one is such a journey. Feels like I am traveling through a desert on my way to forbidden knowledge.


ARTISTS: Wally Badarou
YEAR: 1984
STYLE: Downtempo, Electronic

I first learned of this album after hearing the song Mambo during a play through of GTA Vice City Stories. That track kicked in at just the right time, the sun was setting on Vice City as I cruised the beachfront in a motorcycle. Turns out the album has some other good downtempo tracks, although the higher energy ones I am not as fond of.

夜間飛行 = Night Flight

ARTISTS: Osamu Shoji
YEAR: 1979
STYLE: Synth, Space

80s? Japan? Synths? Vague space theme? Perfect.


ARTISTS: Shigenori Kamiya
YEAR: 1980
STYLE: Synth, Space

Shigenori Kamiya is an interesting guy. He was a race car driver in his early years, but it was cut short after a near death accident. Kamiya pivoted to music, with his debut album being based upon both the supposed lost continent of Mu and a Japanese paranormal magazine of the same name. As evident by the album art, the album borrows Egyptian sounds captures the mystique of ancient aliens and space travel. Read more about it here.

Pharaoh's Tomb

ARTISTS: Shigenori Kamiya
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: Synth, Mystical

Kamiya's other synth album, based on the manga Pharaoh No Haka. From what I gather, the manga revolves around ancient Egypt and Kamiya makes good use of this soundscape, decent mix of atmospheric synth in this one.


ARTISTS: Bourbon Suite
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: Synth, Funk, Instrumental

A sweet instrumental album, Midnight Shuffle is the standout track and has been sampled in a handful of vaporwave songs throughout the years, including Tupperwave's Synthetic Sweetheart album, which I highly recommend as well.

Idle Vice

YEAR: 1985
STYLE: New Wave

Holy hell this album is highly slept on. It's like all the best bits of 80s music all in one package. Overall it reminds me a bit of Kajagoogoo's sound.

Songs from The Big Chair

ARTISTS:Tear for Fears
YEAR: 1985
STYLE: New Wave, Pop Rock

Everybody Wants To Rule The World is my all time favorite song. This album is filled with classic bangers and hardly needs any introduction.

Primitive Man

ARTISTS: Ice House
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: 80s, Pop Rock

Lots of good stuff on this album. After hearing the song "Hey, Little Girl" on a darkside of disco compilation, I ended up using it as one of the songs that plays on a Joe Biden "fanpage." Go for the UK release if you can as it has "Love in Motion" on its tracklist.


ARTISTS: マクロスMacross 82-99
YEAR: 2013
STYLE: Future Funk, Vaporwave

This was my gateway into not only vaporwave/future funk, but city pop in general via its sample of Tatsuro Yamashita's song Merry Go Round. I found this album through "weird Twitter" December one year. The weather only added to it, Street Race 2049 felt tailor made for driving with the windows down on a chilly morning.

Discreet Phone Affairs

YEAR: 2024
STYLE: Future Funk, Vaporwave

It may be 2024, but albums like this prove vaporwave/future funk is still alive and well. Lot of good tracks on this one that have found their way into my regular vaporwave playlist, including parting ways and count on me.

Mother Earth's Plantasia

ARTISTS: Mort Garrison
YEAR: 1976
STYLE: Synth

Synth bliss. My ex would put this on during late nights, it's a lovely album and my associated memories earn it a special place in my heart (and ears!)


ARTISTS: Windows 96
YEAR: 2017
STYLE: Synthwave/Vaporwave

Perfect for a long night's drive, and a fitting use of Taeko Ohnuki's likeness for the cover art. After all, it is the sampling of city-pop that really grew vaporwave into something special, That said, this album does not rely on said samples, it's just a mellow journey of original compositions.


ARTISTS: Emergency Broadcast Network
YEAR: 1992
STYLE: Breakbeat, Video Drugs, Experimental, YTPMV

This is an audio-visual trip. While the music is good on its own, I must recommend their VHS compilation over the album itself. Is that cheating? Idk and idc. The Emergency Broadcast Network (EBN) were pioneers in their craft of sampling television/media for music based remixes. It is worth contextualizing the era, this group couldn’t just look up video samples after the fact on-line, they had to comb through countless hours of recorded material and then fuse it all together with analogue editing techniques into something catchy. Combine that with the effects and proto-sentence mixing, and you have an album that is decades ahead of its time.

Orient Express

ARTISTS: Logic System
YEAR: 1982
STYLE: Synth, Playful

Hideki Matsutake, who worked heavily with Yellow Magic Orchestra on their first few albums, is responsible for this production. This album feels like the distant cousin of YMO's debut album, so if you liked the later half of that album you'll get enjoyment out of this (it even has a cover of YMO's Simoon)

Cy-Fi Symphony

ARTISTS: Sho Yamaoka
YEAR: 1994
STYLE: Synth, Futuristic

Similar sound to Logic System, but with some 90s flair. The song Satelite could almost pass as a lost YMO demo track. If you’ve ever played the original Ratchet and Clank games on Playstation 2, then I’d say that some of the songs from this album, such as Replicant Messages, would be right at home as background music for the game.

Unfortunately, it appears that this is the only album Sho Yamaoka ever put out (although I hope I’m wrong.)

MOTHER (Original Soundtrack)

ARTISTS: Keiichi Suzuki (ft. Catherine Warwick & Louis Philippe)
YEAR: 1989

A quirky game meets a quirky composer, Keiichi Suzuki's compositions are lovingly brought to life by Catherine Warwick and Louis Philippe.


YEAR: 1981
STYLE: Weird, Folk, Japanese

It's a very weird album, one of the many I ended up finding through the vaporwave rabbithole. I love it, but I can't even fully recommend this album (or Chakra's other songs) to the average person. Maybe if you enjoy how strange the Earthbound/Mother 2 soundtrack is you can find some enjoyment in this.

Shadows From Nowhere

YEAR: 1983
STYLE: Italo-Disco, Downtempo

A one off single by Celso Valli, both songs have a chill vibe and have some decent remixes floating around.

Melody / Stop Fantasy

ARTISTS: Plustwo
YEAR: 1983
STYLE: Italo-Disco, Funk

Another solid Italo-disco single, both songs are bangers. One way or another the version I heard was a slower tempo than that of the original, and I honestly prefer it that way.

Summer Breeze

YEAR: 1983
STYLE: City Pop

When vaporwave had me down the rabbithole of Japanese 80s music around 2014, digging deep enough got me into Piper. Apparently I am not alone in that, given that in the years following the group had a resurgence and even some vaporwave inspired remixes. Recent internet urban legend insists that Nintendo composer Koji Kondo was inspired by the album’s main feature, Summer Breeze, for the Super Mario Bros. starman theme. Personally I find this claim to be far reaching as this album did not do well in the charts upon release, but in all fairness, perhaps someone like Koji Kondo would’ve been in touch with the lesser known musical scenes of the time.


ARTISTS: Osamu Sato
YEAR: 1995
STYLE: Breakbeat, Techno, Future Jazz, Experimental

Let's get weird! Osamu Sato is a very interesting artist. Most well known for his involvement in the Playstation game LSD: Dream Emulator, Sato has quite the portfolio . Equal stands out to me because it was at the peak of Sato's involvement with gaming as an artistic medium, and because of the tracks featuring Ryuichi Sakamoto. This was not the first time they collaborated, Sato had provided the cover art for Sakamoto's book Seldom Illegal and the (rare/lost) album Asian Flowers. "Lost media" is a recurring theme with Sato's art.

Asian Flowers

ARTISTS: Ryuichi Sakamoto
YEAR: 1991
STYLE: Ambient Electronic

As I mentioned before, Ryuichi Sakamoto's album Asian Flowers is not only obscure, but considered lost. Aside from a very recent YouTube upload of 1/3 tracks (Ambient Mix) the other two haven't been shared...until now, ENJOY!
  • 01. Asian Flowers (Ceremony Mix)
  • 02. Asian Flowers (Afro Mix)
  • 03. Asian Flowers (Ambient Mix)

  • Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto

    ARTISTS: Ryuichi Sakamoto
    YEAR: 1978
    STYLE: Ambient Electronic

    Ryuichi Sakamoto's first album is a pioneer of Japanese electronic music. Many of the tracks on this album, including Thousand Knives, Plastic Bamboo, and The End of Asia would go on to be reworked for Yellow Magic Orchestra's album BGM. My personal favorite of the album is Grasshoppers, which stylistically really stands out from the rest of the album with a traditionally beautiful keyboard.

    Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia

    ARTISTS: Ryuichi Sakamoto
    YEAR: 1986
    STYLE: Synth-pop, Experimental

    There are two version of this album, the western release titled Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia (1986) and the Japanese release Ongaku Zukan (1984). I prefer Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia as it is a bit more synth-pop in its track selection and less ambient. I used the song Tibetan Dance for the webpage Tibetan TV.


    ARTISTS: Mezzoforte
    YEAR: 1984
    STYLE: Fusion

    If you like The Rippingtons you'll enjoy this.


    YEAR: 2022
    STYLE: Breakcore

    This has kept me awake on many late night drives.

    Masterless Samurai

    ARTISTS: Osamu Kitajima
    YEAR: 1980
    STYLE: Fusion, Traditional

    I can't believe I forgot all about this album until recently. I've been playing a fair amount of Modern Warfare II's free to play mode, DMZ. I needed some background music for the Ashika Island map, and this was perfect.

    Dragon King

    ARTISTS: Osamu Kitajima
    YEAR: 1981
    STYLE: Fusion, Funk, Traditional

    The follow up to Masterless Samuari is equally enjoyable. The inclusion of the tracks Say You Will and Share My Love are a bit out of place, but this merging of R&B/funk with the traditional instruments of Japan is a neat concept.


    ARTISTS: Mick Karn
    YEAR: 1982
    STYLE: Electronic, Experimental, Ambient

    Kinda weird, but I dig it. Here's something fun you can do with this album: Find a strange Japanese commercials compilation, mute the audio, speed the video up x2, then play this album in the background.

    YMO & Kazumi Watanabe Live at the Roppongi Pit Inn (1979)

    ARTISTS:Yellow Magic Orchestra & Kazumi Watanabe
    YEAR: 1979
    STYLE: Live, Electronic, Fusion

    This live show is an interesting combination of YMO's electronic compositions and Watanabe's fusion style. Sakamoto shines on this rendition of Water Ways Flow Backward Again.

    Shigeo Sekito Special Sound Series Vol. 2 - The Word

    ARTISTS:Shigeo Sekito
    YEAR: 1975
    STYLE: Easy Listening, Electronic

    Great lounging music. This album is an interesting case of being relatively unknown for decades until the YouTube algorithm started pushing it to people. The Word II has been covered/sampled by numerous musicians including Mac Demarco and Travis Scott.

    Variations for Winds, Strings and Keyboards

    ARTISTS:Steve Reich
    YEAR: 1984
    STYLE: Post-Modern, Instrumental

    This composition puts me in a trance. It has a similar quality to it that vaporwave has, where despite a slightly whimsical harmony there’s this lingering feeling of un-easy somberness. I selected this song for the 9/11 variation of this site's homepage.

    The Legendary Zing Album

    ARTISTS:The Trammps
    YEAR: 1975
    STYLE: Soul, Disco

    Family legend has it one of my uncles chauffeured for The Trammps at some point in the 70s. I can't say for sure if that's true, but I can say that this is a funky album full of soul. Rubber Band and Pray All You Sinners are my personal favorites.

    Circus Town

    ARTISTS:Tatsuro Yamashita
    YEAR: 1976
    STYLE: Soul, Funk

    So funkin funky. Yamashita recorded this album between NYC and LA, and it has a good mix of both soundscapes.


    ARTISTS:Emmerson, Lake & Palmer
    YEAR: 1972
    STYLE: Prog Rock

    The hardest album artwork of all time, hands down.

    I'm going to assume it wasn't their intention that this album be listened to as you get blackout drunk, but it works quite well in a chaotic sense in that regard.


    YEAR: 2021
    STYLE: Chillwave, Barber Beats

    This was my first introduction to both the "barber beats" genre and Macroblank.


    YEAR: 2022
    STYLE: Chillwave, Barber Beats, Vaporwave

    This album paired with Wheather Star 4000+ is a perfect combo. As Hurricane Ian approached my area in 2022, I had my CRTs tuned in to it with this going on my stereo system.

    Tales Of The Cypher

    YEAR: 2022
    STYLE: Chillwave, Barber Beats, Downtempo

    My go to Macroblank album for late night joy rides.

    Barbershop Simulator™

    ARTISTS:slowerpace 音楽
    YEAR: 2023
    STYLE: Barber Beats

    Been really enjoying this new release, great driving music for a lazy Florida day.