Nobukazu Takemura

Milano: For Issey Miyake Men by Naoki Takizawa

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Japanese super DJ cum electronics wizard Nobukazu Takemura set the world on fire with his 1994 album Child's View after spending the early part of the decade working out in hip-hop circles. With sparse yet luxuriant textures, muted sonic landscapes, and impeccable taste, Takemura changed the world of Japanese electronica forever. Five years later, his name is ubiquitous with all that is inventive and off-kilter in the electronic world. This disc, commissioned by designer Naori Takizawa for a fashion show in Milan, Italy, showcases just how far from the hip-hop tree Takemura has fallen. Unlike the original music that accompanies most shows, Takemura's is full of subtle nuances and shimmering surfaces. His completely electronic score evokes the sounds for a chamber orchestra, where winds, reeds, and strings walk, dance, and slither around one another, just barely touching. Takemura's melodic sensibilities are staggeringly simple, almost like children's nursery rhymes. But they are much more harmonically complex in their virtual approach to lyric and dynamic paucity. The gently hypnotic score evokes the feeling of innocence and wide-eyed wonder, as if one was seeing the world for the first time and able to articulate most, but not all, of it. And while there are six tracks here, all of them long, they are all part of a whole, a long drift that has no room ambience in it, only movement: graceful, deliberate, precise. A chorus appears for the ether and announces a thematic variation and the band (Takemura) plays on, incorporating the utterance as another dimension in this deep, rich, perfectly beautiful and entrancing mix. Not reminiscent of anything one has ever heard before (unless the listener is familiar with Takemura's other work, of course), which, in this media saturated times, is saying quite a bit. Brilliant.

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