The Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder has died aged 70.
News of Yukihiro Takahashi’s passing was confirmed yesterday (15 January) by The Japan Times. The prolific Japanese musician, drummer and vocalist was best known for co-founding the Yellow Magic Orchestra with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono. An exact time and cause of death has not been confirmed but the Japanese news outlet reported that Takahashi underwent surgery for a brain tumour in 2020 and had tweeted that he expected to receive more treatment for this. According to Sponichi – another Japanese media publication – Takahashi had caught pneumonia earlier this month and it had worsened.
Born in Tokyo in 1952, Takahashi started out as a session drummer before joining the Sadistic Mika Band in 1972. After the group disbanded, he had enlisted Sakamoto to produce his solo debut album Saravah!. Following this, Hosono got both Sakamoto and Takahashi on board to record on his own record Paraiso. Then in 1978, the trio formed the Yellow Magic Orchestra and released their self-titled debut album that same year.
Takahashi continued to work on solo material alongside his involvement in the Yellow Magic Orchestra – which saw them release seven albums during their initial run. The trio reunited in 1992 and put out Technodon in 1993, a release which marked the first under various different names including YMO, Human Audio Sponge, and HASYMO.
Under his solo work, Takahashi recorded more than 20 studio albums. He was also part of several other collaborative projects including Sketch Show with Hosono, which the duo formed in 2002, and most recently Electropop outfit Metafive.
Following the news of his death, artists and musicians including Colin Self, Orbital and Ryuichi Sakamoto have been paying their dues to the electronic music pioneer. Read a selection of tributes to late musician below.
RIP Yukihiro Takahashi! Founding member of YMO, undoubtedly one of my top 3 favorite bands. Yukihiro was an expert at seamlessly weaving in humor and whimsy into hauntingly beautiful melodies and hypnotic sequences of percussion and synth. He left behind a goldmine of gems! pic.twitter.com/0pf3r3QZP4
— colinself (@colinself) January 15, 2023
We are absolutely devastated to learn of the passing Yukihiro Takahashi, the incredible drummer behind Yellow Magic Orchestra with a brilliant catalog of solo material as well. Our hearts are with his friends and family at this time. YMO FOREVER. pic.twitter.com/CpQaacf9IT
— Light In The Attic (@lightintheattic) January 14, 2023
Aw man, rest in peace Yukihiro Takahashi. Founding member of both Sadistic Mika Band and Yellow Magic Orchestra. A true pioneer of electronic music. He made such a massive contribution to art in his lifetime. https://t.co/vKqsSaA9KE
— The Blindboy Podcast (@Rubberbandits) January 15, 2023
— anu (@noanunoparty) January 14, 2023
Safe travels Yukihiro Takahashi 🖤 pic.twitter.com/WlFPAGqiRb
— CLAIR 🎵🍄🌈🌿✨️ (@ClairHotgem) January 14, 2023
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