Boomkat Product Review:
Iridescent with rhythmelody, the 2nd of two new albums from Japanese environmental ambient pioneer Takada plays to the percussionist’s sweeter side on her first solo recordings this century
In lucid contrast to the brooding solemnity of her collaboration with Buddhist monks, Shomyo of Koya-san, the durational sides of ‘Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter’ land featherlight and quietly joyful on the mind. Echoing the genteel appeal of her seminal debut ‘Through The Looking Glass’ (1983), and using instruments conserved in the collections of the MEG Museum, Takada here performs her live rendition of ’Nhemamusasa’, a traditional standard of the Shona people, for mbira, which gained international fame for its version by Paul F. Berliner on the 1983 LP ‘The Soul of Mbira’.
Returning to a recurrent theme through her work, notably on 1990’s ‘African Percussion Meeting’ with Kakraba Robi, in ‘Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter’ the now 70 year old Takada lets her rhythms flow beautifully fluidly and easy, eschewing the more puckered melodies of her previous works for a more fluid flow of lilting melodic cadence. Slowly rousing with the delicately radiant touch that opens its ‘In The Morning’ section, Takada tentatively finds her rhythm and plays out its glittering permutations for 21 ineffably elegant minutes, whereas the ‘In The Night’ section finds her pulling back, to play more with space and overtones, and so gently that it appears she’s trying not to wake someone or disturb the museum exhibits.