Yoko Ono

approximately infinite universe


Yoko Ono to Rolling Stone in the early 1980s

"There are so many ways of using the throat and the vocal chords; you can use different areas, different parts of the body to express different emotions. As far as influences in my singing, I got a lot of influence from (Alban) Berg's operas, like his Lulu. I think you can hear that very strongly on some of Approximately Infinite Universe, and I think I'm still very influenced by it. There's also a lot of Japanese kabuki influence, from the old Japanese way of singing.

There's one particular kabuki singing style called hetai, a kind of storytelling form that's almost like chanting and requires you to strain your voice a bit. I also listened to tapes of my voice playing backward and tried to make sounds like that. And I listened to Indian singing, Tibetan singing...all that mixed."

"I told John, and he agreed, that the feminism involves men too. John helped the movement towards equality more by doing something, like househusbandry, than a million people demonstrating for it... Initially, feminists thought that the fact that I was married was a betrayal of the whole idea. As for the idea of really loving John, and saying so - loving a man, what was this? I wrote a song called I Want My Man To Rest Tonight, which was addressed to my feminist sisters and said: let's not blame our men too much. But I think in a male chauvinist society it was just as difficult for men too. They had to adjust. The reason I did not become an extreme feminist was a lot to do with living with John. He was a good influence."

"Written and recorded in New York City with Elephant's Memory, Approximately Infinite Universe displayed Yoko Ono finally coming into her own write and draw. Showing off her rock capabilities, she finds the hard spot with such cuts as "Yang Yang" and "I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window." But she shows gentle sentiment in cuts such as "Song for John" and the wonderful "Looking Over from My Hotel Window."




Death of Samantha

© Sari Gurney
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