Hiroshi Yoshimura

Balenciaga Beats

Hiroshi Yoshimura is a pioneer of Japanese ambient music, a genre that has had a resurgence over the past couple of years, apparently thanks to YouTube’s algorithm. 

Yoshimura died in 2003, before he had a chance to see YouTube’s mysterious, and occasionally dangerous, algorithm magically give his music a second wind. 

It’s easy to sink into his albums and just roll through them without paying attention or ever wanting to skip to something else. Whatever drives YouTube’s algorithm probably realized this was good for keeping people on the website. Given that the average YouTube video is 12 minutes long and his albums can be 45 minutes, it was probably exciting for the algorithm, which is bent on keeping people on the platform for as much of their waking day as possible.

The entire genre has seen a resurgence probably through YouTube and it just becoming inexplicably trendy with certain subcultures. I suspect (with no real data or anything) that it’s at least partially being driven by people who like noise music, who are being honest with themselves that listening to noise music all day, every day, is difficult. And Japanese ambient, in a way, is a kind of noise music, except the noises aren’t shitty (I say this as someone who likes music). If you’re not familiar with noise music, some of it truly sounds like someone started screaming, then walked into a steel mill and started banging on things with a metal rod, while someone else tried to connect to a 56k dial-up internet modem and is amplifying it on a fried PA system. It’s nice.

Anyway though, record companies are now doing reissues of Japanese ambient albums since it’s increasingly clear that there is demand for it. Yoshimura’s albums have enjoyed some of that. Most of them are still only available on Youtube, but a couple have hit streaming platforms and I guess more probably will soon. 

Music for Nine Post Cards - 47 minutes, Spotify | Apple | Bandcamp

Green - 42 minutes, Spotify | Apple | Bandcamp

Wet Land - 38 minutes, YouTube

Pier & Loft - 45 minutes, YouTube