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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Go to the Aoki Takamasa website  Aoki Takamasa - Indigo Rose [Progressive Form - 2002]

He got in the public eye with his two Silicom albums, evolving in a field not far removed from Autechre, but it’s with Indigo Rose that Aoki Takamasa shows his sheer class...

Silicom was not only a musical project: it also had a video side. To fully enjoy the project, you had to get the DVD so you could listen to the music while enjoying the visuals. Takamasa took care of the music, Takagi Masakastu was in charge of the visual side (he has released a few highly-recommended albums on Carpark). On Indigo Rose, music stands on its own. Freed from their association with images, the sounds presented here take another dimension.

As always with Takamasa, the beats are feather-light clicks and most of the time sound very glitchy. Glitches and light drones play a big part in setting up the mood of this CD but they would be nothing without the melodies. For, if Takamasa was no stranger to melodies in his previous works, it has to be said that Indigo Rose sees him focusing on them. Used in the background as an anchor to the listener attention, they are very introspective, reflexive, dreamlike and delicate. Though the music may at first seem quite minimal, each track forms a soundscape of its own, very complex, rich in sound sources, fitting in the higher scheme, in the whole soundscape that is the album taken as one single entity.

Completely new for Takamasa is the use of vocals. On Dear people and Hope he uses is own voice through a vocoder (in the same way as Nobukazu Takemura on 10th) and treat it as just another sound, mixing with all the other ones. On Pipe tale – indigo rose, Takamasa has a guest vocalist in the guise of Tujiko Noriko (read here about her own releases). Both come from Osaka, the home of many famous comedians and most of all of experimental / noise bands or artists. However it seems quite unlikely that they met there. Noriko’s voice has a much more prominent role to play although it’s impossible to understand what she says (I can’t even say if she is singing in English or Japanese). Her vocals are used in the same way than on her own albums (multiple layers, quite melancholic) but the music melody also echoes her work. In this, the song really sounds like a mix of Tujiko Noriko stuff with the more abstract clicks and glitches of Aoki Takamasa. One of the best thing on the album.

My personal favourite on Indigo Rose is the last track There’s not much left. Based on a water sample, the melody is very simple yet efficient and the clikcs_and_cuts_and_glitches are very sparse, enabling the listener to breathe and letting a whole peculiar atmosphere unfold. Oddly enough, it evokes to me the sound of a young father bathing his recently born child. Beautiful, mesmerizing.

On the inside of the packaging is written “please do not smoke while you’re listening to this CD”. I was quite surprised to read that. Was Takamasa an anti-cigarette militant? Maybe he is. But now I understand why it would be criminal to smoke to Indigo Rose: it would scramble the lightness of the music and stain its whole beauty.  Indigo Rose is Aoki Takamasa’s easiest album to get into. It is also his best. He is doing something that people haven’t done before: he sets himself at the crossroad between the most experimental electronic music and the more melodic spectrum. Indigo Rose should appeal to fans of Autechre as well as to those of more accessible kind of acts.

I’d call this 3rd millennium pop music. The masses ain’t quite ready for this just yet, but I bet that in 2200, this kind of music will be everywhere. Unfortunately, it might just be a little too late for Takamasa or myself to have the pleasure of witnessing it.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

François Monti
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