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Originally issued by Crammed in 1987, this is one of the most sought-after releases in the legendary Made to Measure series. Known for his numerous albums, soundtracks, and collaborations with an impossibly broad array of artists (from Ryuichi Sakamoto and DJ Towa Tei to Van Dyke Parks, Björk, Manu Dibango and Elvin Jones), composer, saxophonist and producer Yasuaki Shimizu also released several electronic music productions during the '80s, which are currently generating a lot of interest (a.o. his recently reissued Mariah project). "Music For Commercials" is a brilliant and inventive collection of short pieces, initially conceived as soundtracks for Japanese TV commercials (and bearing sweet titles such as “Seiko”, “Sharp”, “Honda” etc). These twenty-three tracks (each clocking in at two minutes or less, except one longer piece composed for a computer-animation short) abound with hit-and-run sound collages, twittering computers, and energetic ricocheting between myriad styles of music. This album has achieved near-mythical status in the last few years, which have seen artists such as Oneohtrix Point Never sing its praise.
TV commercials in the late '70s and '80s didn't advertise the practical features of products, they were meant to build strategic corporate images. You might even say they took a musical approach in their visual expression, though perhaps that's an overstatement. Being restricted to a time span of a minute or less made it ideal work for refining my intuitive powers. I made a conscious choice not to remix the tracks for this album. The final version of the original recordings appear here untouched, although I do remember working to link the individual tunes, and on the overall mood. — Yasuaki Shimizu
I met Yasuaki Shimizu when he was living in Paris, around the mid-80s. We were mutually interested in a Shimizu/Crammed collaboration, and we came up with the idea to gather the short pieces he had created for TV commercials, and release them in our Made To Measure composers' series which, at the time, already included 10 releases of mostly instrumental music. — Marc Hollander
Yasuaki Shimizu mini-biog
Musical boundaries are no barrier to Yasuaki Shimizu, who performs and composes in all fields from improvisation to classical. Born in Shizuoka, just west of Tokyo, Shimizu first attracted notice in the 1970s with his virtuosic tenor saxophone playing. He released his first solo album in 1978, and from 1980 led the progressive rock band, Mariah, whose 1983 album Utakata No Hibi was recently reissued, to critical acclaim (Pitchfork gave it a 8.5 note and called it "enchanting… an elusive classic"). Another classic Shimizu album from that period is his solo effort Kakashi (1982), reissued ths year on US label Palto Flats. From around this time, Shimizu came into demand from a diverse range of artists for his composition, production and arrangement skills. For six years from the mid-1980s, he lived and recorded in Paris and London, recording and performing with a long list of collaborators. This period yielded three albums: Subliminal (1987) with French producer Martin Meissonnier, Dementos (1988) with British artists including ex-Flying Lizards David Cunningham, and Aduna (1989), featuring Senegalese vocalist Wasis Diop, while also writing original soundtracks to films such as Juliet Berto’s Havre and contributing music to Peter Greenaway's Pillow Book.