Nobukazu Takemura is a Japanese disc-jockey and producer who debuted as a
trip-hop artist under the monikers DJ Takemura (since 1992), Spiritual Vibes
(since 1993) and Child's View (1994), an album of songs interpreted by
an array of guest vocalists.
In 1990, Takemura also formed Audio Sports
with Yamatsuka Eye (Boredoms) and Aki Onda, and features on their first
album, Era of Glittering Gas (1992).
Child & Magic (1997) was Takemura's first venture in the realm of
minimalism (cycling patterns a` la Terry Riley and Steve Reich) and sub-techno
(discrete noises a` la Oval and Ryoji Ikeda), yielding the psychological
vignettes of Solitary Walker, Toybox With Moonshine and
Clown and Crown.
With this album, Takemura became the first musician to try and wed minimalism
and dance music.
Funfair (Bubble Core, 1999), credited to Child's View, adds Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno to the
equation. The tracks get longer, the atmosphere quieter and the music
more sophisticated (The Cradle Of The Light, Sabure`,
the 14-minute Pendulum , Assi Que Dodo , After Image).
Two albums recorded for a fashion event, Finale (1999) and
Milano (Warner, 1999), contain lengthy trances.
The former has Aquarium , Mirrors Like A Lake and
Finale . The latter has Puro, Dalla Barca Sul Lago,
Passeggiata Dalla Sul Lago Alla Cascata.
Scope (Thrill Jockey, 1999) is one of his most ambitious and
(the 22-minute glitch-jam On A Balloon,
the Steve Reich-ian concert Kepler,
the musique concrete of Taw,
the ambient/cosmic Icefall).
The year 2000 began with the single Picnic/ Oyasumi (2000).
Sign (Thrill Jockey, 2000) collects
a number of different works.
Sign (9:21) is a strange hybrid, collating together
a distorted vocal litany, a busy hip-hop beat, a light keyboard melody
(a` la Frank Zappa's Uncle Meat).
Cogwheel (9:46) is virtually one endless loop of two layers of music:
a loud robotic polyrhythm on the surface, and soft minimalist keyboards
The single Meteor (9:51) superimposes several streams of sounds:
a crescendo of rapid-fire beats, a recurring synthesizer melody,
a videogame-like sequence of noises,
a deconstructed melody (eventually picked up by the accordion),
and other mutating, shifting centers of attention.
The lengthy jam Souvenir In Chicago (35:33), recorded
with guests Tortoise,
starts out with repetitive guitar and keyboard patterns that slowly
coalesce in a carousel of colorful instrumental timbres.
After 14 minutes, Takemura sucks out all the instruments from the mix and
leaves only a dirty drone over skipping beats. Then he begins to reconstruct
the music, adding discrete fragments one after the other.
The effect, in the second half of the piece, is similar to someone shuffling the notes of a melody in random order.
2001 saw the release of the singles Animate, Hiking/viking,
Mahou No Hiroba,
besides the new Child's View album, Hoshi No Koe (Thrill Jockey, 2001),
another messy release
that offers relatively "traditional" ambient techno
(Anemometer, A Chrysalis, Trampoline) besides more
(In The Room-roof-wood).
The EP Recursion
contains the 14-minute A Lost Treasure and the
The single Mimic Robot (Thrill Jockey, 2002) is another venture into
pop music (it also includes Lost Treasure).
Originally recorded in 1998, Water's Suite (Extreme, 2002)
is an ambitious theoretical work that relies
on computers and cacophony. The 22-minute Part 5 tries too hard to
fuse all the techniques that Takemura has experimented with in his career, but
the neurotic stream of consciousness of Part 1, the
percussive dissonance of Part 2 and the painful suspense of Part 3
rank among his most haunting soundscapes.
The sprawling 10th (Thrill Jockey, 2003) is a light, playful appendix
to his experimental works.
Anchoring their rhythm to Steve Reich-ian repetition, the electronic songs
on this album employ simple melodies and vocoder-filtered vocals.
The result, unfortunately, is rather monotonous.
Assembler / Assembler 2 (Thrill Jockey, 2003)
Turntables and Computers (Headz, 2003), one 46-minute glitchy jam, is a
collaboration between Nobukazu Takemura on laptop and Otomo Yoshihide
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