Yasuaki Shimizu ‘Music for Commercials – Made to Measure Vol. 12’ (Crammed Discs) 3/5

A much-anticipated re-issue and sought after original from the early days of Belgian label Crammed Discs, this is an example of how music can be composed and utilised for more commercial aims and it is by no means the first time this has happened. In the 1960s when the advertising industry was still in its embryonic stages, Blue Note jazz instrumental recordings by Herbie Hancock, ‘Maiden Voyage’, Lee Morgan, ‘The sidewinder’, and Horace Silver, ‘Song for my father’, all became pop chart hits after being linked to advertised products, and this is very much the raison d’être of this offering from Japanese composer and saxophonist, Yasuaki Shimizu. Sadly, jazz fans will not find much here since it is a representation of where 1980s synthesizer music was at, with a strong Parisian influence, since that is where the musician was resident. However, for a younger generation that harks for a more experimental side to 1980s synth-dominated music, this may just prove to be their nirvana and there is no doubting Shimizu’s skill at producing interesting pieces in a concise format. In general, the pieces are extremely short between one and two minutes on average.

The more esoteric listener/reader will probably be looking forward to other re-issues in the series, especially if albums by the likes of Fred Frith and Arto Lindsay are re-issued. Minimalist gatefold sleeve packaging in keeping with the 1980s ethos. Among others in the series are recordings by Hector Zazou and various film soundtracks.

Tim Stenhouse