Takako Minekawa

Cloudy Cloud Calculator

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Takako Minekawa's fourth album, Cloudy Cloud Calculator, is one of her finest and most unique moments. Where Buffalo Daughter's collaboration on Minekawa's previous album, Roomic Cube, sometimes overshadowed her basically minimalist style, Cloudy Cloud Calculator gives Minekawa's songs room to breathe. "Milk Rock" makes the most out of a vibe bassline, breakbeats and her breathy vocals, and "Phonobaloon Song"'s deceptively simple vocals and keyboard arrangement covers a spectrum of emotions. Minekawa's sense of humor makes its presence felt on most of the songs, especially "Cat House," which features sampled kitties meowing to a bouncy synth beat. "Black Forest" and "International Velvet" create a lush, filmic mood, while "Cloud Chips," "Kraftpark" and "Kangaroo Pocket Calculator" suggest a slightly playful, somewhat ominous futuristic world. Minekawa saves one of the best tracks for last, a remake of Joe Meek and the Tornadoes classic "Telstar," redone with a Martin Denny-like arrangement and exotica beat. Cloudy Cloud Calculator's highly inventive, restrained pop shows that Minekawa has hit her stride as a songwriter and arranger.

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