Thursday, 29 December 2011

Takagi Masakatsu - COIEDA

Every year, on a forum I frequent we hold a music tournament called DRAFT (Dazzling Roulette of Audio Files Tournament). Basically, each person nominates 8 of their favorite songs and all the songs then go head to head in a single elimination fashion with people voting which song they've preferred. In the end, one song remains and it is crowned as the best of the bunch. It's a great way to discover new music. Anyway, New Flat was a runner-up a few years back. That's how I was introduced to the genius that is Takagi Masakatsu.

Okay, maybe not genius, but his music is stellar. This album was released back in September of 2004 and is his 8th studio album. It's an interesting mish-mash of electronic and acoustic sound in an experimental style. It's chock full of interesting sounds and evolving ideas. I can't really seem to find an overall theme or idea. The closest thing that I can think of is that Takagi is trying to fill our heads to the brim with beautiful distorted images of our everyday life and shedding a new light on it. The mix of electronic sounds with acoustics obviously isn't a new concept, but I can't help but love the way Takagi uses it.

Let's take that song I mentioned earlier, New Flat, as an example. When I first heard it, I didn't really get it. I thought some guy just put some random bleepy bloopy sounds and called it art or something. After opening up my taste in music over a year later, I fell in love with it. There's a field recording of a few people taking a bike ride through town, conversing about whatever is on their minds. It's accompanied by various strange noises as well as piano and strings that later get effects layered onto them. It has an overall nostalgic feel and builds up slowly as the recording plays. There's no big climax. It simply builds, and slowly dies, and I think that was a good choice.

The piano is very prominent on this album, whether it's at the forefront or laying low in the background. Birdland #3 is a good example where the piano is the main focus of the track. It plays a beautiful yet spine-chilling, almost haunting melody and eventually "explodes" about two-thirds of the way through. In Exit/Delete, the piano is in the background, accompanying the acoustic guitar. It starts out calmly enough with guitar and piano playing lazily and later develops with added sounds and and instrumentaion. All the while, David Sylvian is doing a great job on vocals, as per usual. The album is filled with intricately woven textures and inspiring instrumentation that forces the mind to take an all-expenses paid vacation. Possibly to Cuba, since that's the names of one of the tracks.

Listening to this album is quite the aural experience. So many different ideas and sounds are being thrown at you, some within the course of a single song. If you like experimental electronic music, you'll definitely want to put this at the top of your priority list. Now if you'll excuse me, I got to say 10 hail Hail Marys in hopes that the girl in the cover art doesn't kill me in my sleep. Seriously, A grade horror movie type shit.

9 out of 10 people will like this. (Yeah this is my new grading system. Deal with it.)

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