February 3, 2023

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Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Yukihiro Takahashi dead at 70

Yukihiro Takahashi, co-founder, drummer and lead singer of influential Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra, has died at the age of 70

According to local media reports, Takahashi died of brain cancer.

Takahashi co-founded the Yellow Magic Orchestra in 1978 with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono. The group is considered a pioneer in the electronic music genre due to their use of synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, drum machines, computers and digital recording technology.

YMO released their eighth studio album between 1978 and 1993, including critically acclaimed LPs like Solid State Survivor and BGM. Their biggest crossover hit came in 1980 with “Computer Game”, which reached #60 in the US.

YMO’s legacy is undeniable. The roots of synthpop, techno, and house music can all be traced back to the Japanese group’s music, and Western acts like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and Ultravox have specifically credited them as foundational artists. Other musicians, including Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Orbital, and Afrika Bambaataa, have covered, sampled, or remixed YMO’s music.

After their initial split in 1984, YMO reunited several times through 2012.

In addition to his work at YMO, Takahashi was an early member of the Sadistic Mika Band and has released a number of solo albums. He has also composed several films and video games.