Boomkat Product Review:
Midori Takada’s highly sought-after early recordings come to light in WRWTFWW’s reissue of her sublime début of chiming, minimalist percussion with Mkwaju Ensemble, ‘Ki-Motion’
Readily availed outside of the Japanese domestic market for the first time, Ki-Motion captures the essence of Takada’s music coming into being alongside Yoji Sadanari’s vibraphone and marimba, drums by Shuichi “Ponta” Murakami, and synthesiser gilding by Shuichi Chino.
Inspired by the myriad applications of the tamarind, or Mkwaju as it’s known in Swahili, which ranges from use a staple food, to craft the earliest marimbas and mallets, and a symbol of life in the dry Central African grasslands, Midori and co explore a synthesis of African and Far Eastern percussive traditions coupled with influences from American minimalism and emergent ambient styles in a way that creates timeless connections between far-flung cultures.
The result is a uniquely immersive environment meshed from swaying, moire patterns that evoke both Japanese and Central African traditions. However, they are often more rugged than you may have come to expect after being snagged on Takada’s Through The Looking Glass classic. In Wood Dance they catch a turbulent roil of proto-techno pulses prime for adventurous ‘floors, while Angora Steps is almost No Wave punkish in its dissonant drive, and Zindo Zindo trades in proper, raw, scratchy and buzzing rhythms in a way you won’t find her latest work. Of course, there are sweeter bits, too; Maximum could be an early pre-echo of the Ghost In The Shell soundtrack, and Ki-Motion and Hot Air are just melt-on-the-mind- beautiful.
Don’t sleep on this. A must have for all Japan-o-philes and ambient lovers!