Mittwoch, 28. Januar 2009

Kaugummikrise

Tujiko Noriko - ハードにさせて

haado ni sasete Tujiko Noriko holds a special place in my music-collection cause she was really the artist that got me into the whole electronic/ downbeat genre, especially its japanese manifestations. Japan has quite an active and interesting scene in that field to be discovered and though not all discoveries might be as original and rewarding as Tujiko was for me, I surely still enjoy browsing the net, in search of that perfect click-clackery beat, warm melancholic soundwaves and those japanese vocals that sometimes still seem so far away to me, though I've long come to understand the bigger part of them and feel slightly embarassed when Tujiko sings that „watashi no o-shiri“-part.

Tujiko is often and unfairly compared to Björk, I guess mostly by music journalists whose knowledge of female artists who have a slightly off-center approach to electronic music and a bit of a mystic space surrounding them doesn't stretch beyond that one icelandic girl. Not to say that my knowledge would that much. Tujiko definitely likes to play with schemes: the nine postcards replacing the booklet on this release show her in casual wear as well as in high heels, show photos of her obviously taken by herself in the bathroom as well as her posing in front of/ on sportscars. You might mistake her singing for shy or reduced at times and part of the lyrics are dreamy images, mostly of going somewhere new (accidental parallel to the german Schlager, but then again to possibly anything written by human beings). Whichever way you might understand (or not understand at all, for that matter) the lyrics, her music definitely never presents a girl unsure of herself or at a loss for words. In contrary, her album "haado ni sasete" discussed here is said to be her most experimental, fragmented piece of work. This is instantly intelligable on the first track, sunahama enjeru ('sandbeach-angel'). As usual, the production has her voice call from afar and whisper to your ear in the next second, at times cutting up voice samples to break them into pieces, just like those poor beats, scattered midair literally like sand. Quite often her songwriting involves looping distorted, dischordant bits to such an extent that it makes them almost sweet, despite the originally rather unusual collection of laptop-sounds or noises. On the first track, she won't make it that easy for you though, resulting in a spectacular yet demanding and probably slightly scary introduction to the album as whole.

Track 2, give face is a lot easier to swallow at first glance but in fact almost ups the weirdness by including raps done by a certain Moyunijumo, who in the beginning sounds like some pervert breathing heavily into a telephone... and remains hard to tolerate for the rest of the track, but that might just be my long-standing discomfort with rap as a whole. Third track hae is also to be found on her collaboration-album with Aoki Takamasa, which made me feel nostalgic for something not even one year old in my personal history. Anyway, both versions derserve to be heard anytime and shown to anyone open-minded you like. Very very lovable stuff here, closer to her more straight-forward later work but more interesting, as in: strange and beautiful, which equals strangely beautiful in my book. I'd like to mention one more track, pengin, which is not only great because it is named 'penguin' and features these fantastic animals in its almost-as-fantastic video I linked below, but also since it brings to perfection the looping songwriting I mentioned above to form some truly spiral-like, hypnotizing image, like M.C. Escher going wild on a glacier. The fact that you can find some soundpieces on this album in her other works gives the whole thing an even more intimate feeling despite the often „cold“ soundscapes. Then again, songs like sen or mugen ressha are just so delicate, they have a folky or ambient feel to them that makes them likeable to those less fascinated by glitches or weird structures.

If you're (like me) a fan of the physical incarnation of music, this one might be a bit tough to dig out since it was released in the west through now-bankrupt Austrian label 'mego' once in 2002 and not (yet?) re-released by the 'éditions mego'-label follow-up. Of course there's still a japanese version out, if you can really get your hands on that one and don't mind the ridiculous pricetag.

Video: Tujiko Noriko - Pengin
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content: Philipp Klueglein 2006-2013
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