Friday 20 July 2007

Exhibit 1: Books in a Toaster (1990)

Yukio Yung putting two novels by André Gide into a Morphy Richards pop-up toaster. The books are Strait Is The Gate and La Symphonie Pastorale/Isabella.

YY: I'm not really sure why I thought this was a funny idea for a promo pic. But it made me laugh. Still does, actually.

Thursday 19 July 2007

Exhibit 2: Crawford Of The Town (2001)

YY: This song is from the album Unconscious Arithmetic by Chrysanthemums. It was supposed to be released on the US Flamingo label in 2001 - but they went out of business before it was pressed up. This is quite a mysterious song which references alot of childhood memories - increasingly common these days. In this case, 1960s Ipswich Town footballing legend Ray Crawford is thrust into the film King Kong. There are also Phantom jets from the American airbases at Woodbridge and Bentwaters, and 'The March Of The Gladiators' - the tune that always used to play over the PA when the teams came out at Portman Road. Camel's Andy Ward played drums; I did everything else. You can listen to an MP3 of the track right here... when I get around to uploading it.

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Exhibit 3: Yukio Yung's All Music Guide Entry (2000)

Yukio Yung is the pseudonym of Terry Burrows, a London-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist with an apparently limitless appetite for both pseudonyms and side projects. Aside from his best-known alias, which he first used in the mid-'80s as one-third of the psych pop group the Chrysanthemums, Burrows released instrumental prog rock as Push-Button Pleasure, acid house dance mixes as YooKo, and free jazz-influenced pop art experiments as the Jung Analysts. To top it all off, Burrows released albums of avant-garde minimalism under his own name. All of this is in addition to his day job as a prolific author of computer manuals and music instruction books.

Born in Ipswich, England, on January 14, 1963, Burrows taught himself guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone as a teenager, in addition to pursuing a classical education on piano that had begun at the age of five. Although influenced by punk, it was more the anti-record industry D.I.Y. ethos that attracted him than the music. Burrows' influences included Syd Barrett, the Kinks, the Who, and the entire Canterbury Scene with its prog rock sound that centered around the Soft Machine and its various offshoots, along with other '60s-influenced post-punks like XTC and the Television Personalities. By the mid-'80s, Burrows had started his own indie label, Hamster Records, releasing albums by his first band, the Jung Analysts, and similar non-commercial artists. A chance meeting with singer/guitarist Alan Jenkins, whose psych pop cult band Deep Freeze Mice had just broken up, led to the formation of the Chrysanthemums, for whom Burrows was lead singer and keyboardist between 1986 and 1991; the band name, like Burrows' newly adopted stage name of Yukio Yung, came about as part of his fascination with Japanese culture.

Burrows released three albums and four EPs as co-leader of the Chrysanthemums before the band's original lineup splintered in 1991. Retaining the name Yukio Yung, he released his first solo album,
Tree Climbing Goats, in 1992. A follow-up vinyl-only LP, Art Pop Stupidity, followed in 1993, with a CD of entirely new material, A Brainless Deconstruction of the Popular Song, appearing later that year. Jeff Lynne, a 7" tribute to one of Burrows' personal heroes recorded during the Art Pop Stupidity sessions, was released in 1994, followed by the single 'Keep the Black Flag Flying.' The B-side of that single, 'Reservoir Girls (Yukio's Dream #6)', is an inspired oddity featuring Burrows re-creating the opening scene of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs in a variety of computer-altered voices, with some parts sung in an operatic voice to fragments of classical music, before swinging into a dead-on cover of Ray, Goodman & Brown's slick-'70s soul classic 'Girls'.

Burrows' next releases as Yukio Yung were a related pair of 10" EPs on the German Pink Lemon label,
Goodbye Pork-Pie Brain and Hello Pulsing Vein. These discs found Burrows progressing in a more pop-friendly direction, although Goodbye Pork-Pie Brain did include the Can-like 15-minute drone-song 'Yuri Gagarin'. Four remixed songs from these EPs were released as the almost Brit-poppy CD EP (Mostly) Water. As Yung, Burrows also collaborated with R. Stevie Moore on the seven-song CD EP Objectivity in 1995, each covering one of the other's songs besides co-writing four others; the EP also includes Yung's lovely version of Robert Wyatt's "God Song". In 1996, Burrows rejoined with his ex-Chrysanthemums bandmate Martin Howells to form a new version of that group, re-christened with the cute visual pun Chrys&themums to differentiate it from the Jenkins lineup.

Stewart Mason, All Music Guide

Tuesday 17 July 2007

Exhibit 4: Portrait Of The Artist As A Purple Line (2005)

Yukio as seen by his son, Louis, then aged two.

Monday 16 July 2007

Exhibit 5: Catfish II (1992)

Paul Smith (left) and Yukio (right) recorded a track for the Candy Bars compilation on the Little Teddy label of München. Then they called it a day. Their sole effort was a one-minute version of the talky section from 'The Legend of Xanadu' - a 1960s hit in the UK by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch.

Sunday 15 July 2007

Exhibit 6: Louis' Circle Line Adventure (2007)

YY: My son, Louis, is obsessed with London's public transport system. One morning in March, I came up with an inspired activity idea. We went to Liverpool Street, joined the Circle Line, got off at every stop, whereupon I'd take a photograph of Louis standing alongside the station sign. It took us around four hours to get back to Liverpool Street. Back home, I printed out the photos, we painted a huge yellow circle line and glued the photos in the appropriate spaces. [NB. In many of the pictures, Louis appears worried - this is because he was concerned that I'd fall onto the track while I was taking his photograph.]

Saturday 14 July 2007

Exhibit 7: Gary's Glitter Bar - Leader Of The Snack (1994)

YY: I was an editor at a publishing house in Covent Garden when Gary Glitter opened The Glitter Bar on the corner of Leicester Square. If I remember rightly, it was a tiny little sandwich bar opposite the slightly more impressive Planet Hollywood. It went out of business very quickly. For some strange reason I kept the bag my sandwich came in and pinned it on my studio wall. Perhaps I thought it might one day become a valuable piece of memorabilia of one of the our great cultural icons. Well that didn't work out, did it.

Friday 13 July 2007

Exhibit 8: Mysterious Deflating Tyre Incident (1991)

The Chrysanthemums struggle with simple vehicle maintenance in rural Germany. Bassist Vladimir wields a jack with purpose while singer Yukio and guitarist Alan watch with interest. Drummer Robyn counts his fingers and cameraman Rachel counts her boxes.

Thursday 12 July 2007

Exhibit 9: Invention Of The "Harry Secombe" Cocktail (2006)

Developed by Yukio Yung and Rachel Price at around 17:30 on April 30. Superb!

1. Take a classic cocktail shaker and add plenty of ice.
2. Pour in one measure of vodka and one measure of cherry brandy.
3. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon.
4. Shake vigorously.
5. Divide contents into four large champagne flutes.
6. Top up each glass with champagne.
7. Add a single drop of angustura bitters to each.

Wednesday 11 July 2007

Exhibit 10: Studio Disaster (1988)

Rain comes gushing through a leaking roof into the control room of Yukio's Surgeon's Lab studio in Acton, London, drenching the mixing desk, tape decks, effects and speakers. Amazingly, only the desk was damaged.

Tuesday 10 July 2007

Exhibit 11: My Tree (2007)

YY: Between 2002 and 2005 I spent the majority of that period living in Caithness, in the north of Scotland. The cottage was a half a mile from the nearest neighbour and at the very end of a five-mile inland strath. Along that road was a tree that I'd always found magically captivating. In 2007, following some pretty sweeping changes to life in general, the cottage was sold. I took this photograph on my very last day in Caithness as a reminder of what was a pretty incredible time. It also makes me sad that a phase of life has ebded. In fact, the time spent in Scotland is already beginning to feel like a bit of a dream. I still the miss the place.

Monday 9 July 2007

Exhibit 12: Yukio Yung's Dad (c. 1950s)

This is Ronald Frank Burrows.

YY: No idea where or when this was taken. In almost every photograph of him as a young man he's seen with a cigarette in his mouth.

Sunday 8 July 2007

Exhibit 13: Live at Kaufbeuren (1991)

This was a Chrysanthemums gig at Das Pic, Kaufbeuren, in the South of Germany. The club was run by a splendid chap named Peter. We played there a couple of times and always had fun. At this gig, my friend - and opera buddy - Mike Plummer turned up unexpectedly. He was holidaying in Germany and decided to come to Kaufbeuren for the day. Apparently he spent half the gig at the bar with his hands over his ears, and then rushed out with a pained expression on his face - not a wholly unusual response. It transpired that this was his first "rock" gig and he'd been completely unprepared for anything that loud. To this day he's never been to a similar event. He took this photo before he left.

Saturday 7 July 2007

Exhibit 14: The Dogs (2001)

Lena, Max and Illy in Caithness.

Friday 6 July 2007

Exhibit 15: Review of Yukio Yung's (Mostly) Water EP (2001)

Original Sin webzine demands to know why Yukio Yung is "not a household name in today's pop".

The German quality-label Jar Music that recently released the album by The Conspiracy is presenting you this little masterpiece of Yukio Yung, and even if the name is Japanese, this man is born in London and only chooses the name because of an obsession he had for Japan in the 1980s. Honestly said I'm a bit suprised because the quality that's been presented on here and once again dissapointed because this is drove back into the underground circuit but there are so many dishonest things in life that you start wondering why you still should complain it!!!! I'd say Yukio Yung is a sort of singer-songwriter in the tradition of Jeff Buckley but enriched with the modern indiesounds from Pulp or even later stuff by Marc Almond. All I can say is as simple as that: why is this name not a household name in today's pop????

YY: This is/was a French site that for some reason was published in English (presumably after consulation with a French-English dictionary). Jeff Buckley? Marc Almond? I suppose it makes a change from Robyn Hitchcock.

Thursday 5 July 2007

Exhibit 16: Groovemeister Louis (2007)

Louis Bram Burrows (4) busy at work in the studio.

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Exhibit 17: T-Bone Steak (2007)

Dining with Vladimir Zajkowiecz at Hawksmoor, London.

All washed down with a couple of Hawksmoor juleps and an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon (D'Arenberg, Copermine Road, McLaren Vale, 2001).

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Exhibit 18: Recording at Yukio's Parent's House (c.1983)

YY: Almost all of my early recordings were made in my parents' front room in Colchester Road, Ipswich. This also served as the base for my first record label. These photographs are of a session for the first Jung Analysts album. My preparations would begin with borrowing as much equipment as I could from friends. I generally had no conventional songs prepared, but simply chose an instrument, switched on the tape recorder and played. The vocals would come at the very end. Some of the lyrics on those early albums recordings are terrible. Shame, really, because a lot of that music is quite interesting.

Monday 2 July 2007

Exhibit 19: We Are Normal And We Dig Burt Weedon (1994)

Yukio meets the legendary Burt Weedon at a book launch in Denmark Place, London.

Sunday 1 July 2007

Exhibit 20: Review of The Baby's Head in Amplifier (1999)

The Baby's Head
(Jar Music, Germany)

East London singer/songwriter Yukio Yung (his mum named him Terry Burrows, under which name he's a much-published author of guitar and computer instruction books) is a stunningly prolific, remarkably brilliant popsmith who nowhere near enough people, especially in the United States, know about yet. The continuum of eccentric British popsters that began with Ray Davies and has continued through Robert Wyatt, Andy Partridge, Robyn Hitchcock, Bid, Daniel Treacy and Martin Newell. Likewise, Yukio has a remarkable knack for melodies that stick in your head for ages on one listening, love songs with choruses like "It's time we tried to make our molecules collide" ("1000 Tiny Pieces") and almost-conversational shaggy dog stories like "Founding My Religion." The Baby's Head, the latest release by one of Yukio's many projects, Chrys&themums (formerly The Chrysanthemums, under which name they released a song-by-song cover of the Zombies' entire Odyssey and Oracle album) is an excellent introduction to Mr. Yung. Here's a singer/songwriter skilled in any number of styles: psychedelia ("The Things Around the Picture"), insistently catchy guitar pop with a strong British Invasion influence ("Like Billy Ocean Said," "Not That Much"), pleasantly spacy explorations not unlike the Bevis Frond at their poppiest and least wanky ("Getting Off A One-Way Train" and the lovely extended closer, "Never Knowingly Understood"), garagey instrumental raveups ("The Test Tone Five") and heaping doses of pure pop bounce (the brilliant "Rainy Sunday Saints" and the unbelievably Kinks-ish "We've Gone Too Far"). Perhaps the most remarkable thing about The Baby's Head beyond its melodic and lyrical strengths is its construction: Every element of this album, from Yukio's guitar, keyboards and vocals to Vladimir Zajkowiecz's bass and Andy Ward's drums was in some way manipulated on Yung's Macintosh so that the album was finally entirely computer-generated. This in itself is not at all uncommon - artists from Nine Inch Nails to Wire have done this before. But never before have I heard a computer-made album that sounds so... well, alive. This music has a very human heart at its core. Either under his own name or with Chrys&themums, Yukio Yung is an undiscovered treasure.

**** 1/2 (out of possible 5)