Nobukazu Takemura

Child & Magic

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The long awaited follow-up to 1994's Child's View does not disappoint. Nobukazu Takemura reveals here that the earlier album was no fluke, and that he has all but left hip-hop and breakbeat DJ'ing in the closet to rust. Instead he's become a composer for the medium of electronics. This album's got a wild mix of spare minimal sounds, modal rhythms, and tonal schemata, a familiar Brazilian tinge, and many strange repetition bits that feel more like Terry Riley or Steve Reich than Takemura. The drum'n'bass elements that do appear are minimal at best, and the up-tempo percussion is offbeat, not dancefloor-oriented. The disc plays like a seamless whole, employing a fantastic range of colors and sounds in the mix. Vocal superstar Kiku helps minimally on a few tracks, but the main focus is on Takemura's talent in the studio as producer and an arranger. The feel is as innocent as Child's View, but far more elaborate and complex. Nonetheless, if the album didn't already have a title, a fitting one would be "Scenes From a Haunted Ballroom"; it feels like the soundtrack that could play in the empty rooms of the resting Titanic as much as it does a masterwork of modern electronica.

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