Wednesday 2 October 2013

TEA Podcast: Aoki Takamasa

Japanese beatmaker, photographer and all round creative Aoki Takamasa donates to the TEA Podcast a live show he recently recorded playing at Club Mago in Nagoya, Japan.

There's a certain kind of repetition in Aoki Takamasa's music that refuses to be boring. It's punchy and danceable as it is experimental and abstract. There's hip hop, there's techno, there's house, there's that sterile glitch 'n' hum. Takamasa is a Japanese artist from Osaka that's been producing his brand of processed electronics for more than ten years with releases on a collection of labels, notably one-sided vinylists SVAKT from Switzerland, Ryuichi Sakamoto's (of Yellow Magic Orchestra) Commons label, Berlin think-tank Stroboscopic Artefacts and Alva Noto's lab over at Raster-Noton.

Earlier this year Takamasa released the tenth album he's been involved in since his emergence in 2001 with the Silicom LP for Progressive Form, a Japanese imprint he later helped define. Rv8, the follow up to his 2009 Raster-Noton debut, Rn-Rhythm-Variations - a buzzing thrum of mechanical funk, sees Takamasa extend and refine the tumbling and in your face minimalism he first brought to the German label several years ago. 

There’s an undeniably synthetic hip hop feel to Takamasa's music too – the type you’d expect a Tokyo street performer to be robot-dancing to in the neon-bright Shibuya district. Combine this with smatterings of Japanese arcade tones - think Konami, Neo Geo, Capcom - '90s anime soundtracks and the oomph of a Wu-Tang/Ryoji Ikeda drum track/pattern and your somewhere around the mark of Takamasa's unique sound. 

Takamasa’s peculiar take on vocals is something that further defines his humble aesthetic, and a talent best heard on his 28 collaboration with female vocalist and Editions Mego artist Tujiko Noriko - and throughout the aforementioned Rn-Rhythm-VariationsTakamasa's Monad IX for Stroboscopic Artefacts could also be considered the release that first set the Berlin label in its scientific direction, with artists like Kanding Ray, French trio DSCRD and emerging Italian duo Plaster following on from previous releases to Takamasa by techno producers Donor, Pfirter, Markus Suckut and Perc.

Takamasa is also pretty nifty with a lens; his shot of a cyclist riding in Berlin Tempelhof Airport appears on NHK'Koyxeи's Dance Classics Vol. II released on PAN last year (a LP which hides in it one of the best techno tracks of 2012). He's not bad with a field recorder either, with some of his recordings, such as birds singing at 4:00am on a crisp Berlin morning, or Sound from streets in Berlin Mitte: 1st of January 2009 at around 0:40am are free to hear over at his his website.

For a taste of what he's currently up to, look no further than this live set recorded by Aoki Takamasa in August at Nagoya's Club Mago. Enjoy.


No tracklist provided.

TEA Podcast: Aoki Takamasa live at Nagoya Mago (August 9th 2013) Duration: 56:03

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