Aoki Takamasa 28 (with Tujiko Noriko)

[FatCat/Fusion III; 2005]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: downtempo, electronica, ambient
Others: Mice Parade, Rainstick Orchestra, I’m Not A Gun, Múm

I honestly don't think I have the words to describe this amazing record as eloquently as it deserves. Like two leaves adrift on a meditative currant, Japanese born Aoki Takamasa and Tujiko Noriko met in France. There, they laid out the initial groundwork for an album that would be three years in the making. Over this time, Aoki moved to join Tujiko in Paris, forgoing the invariable strain of a long distance musical relationship, while the pair also both aged to 28 (hence). The fact that something special was in the works is evident all over this record, yet I can't point to one single element of 28 and say why this lush work of downtempo electronic art is just that — though the splintered, fractal effects on Noriko's vocals sends a chill down my spine just to think about it. She could be singing about heavy flow days half the time and I wouldn't know. It's hard to tell whether she's singing in English, Japanese, or just making Björk-ish sounds. I know she does all three, and possibly more, but I don't really care. Her voice, as set against Aoki's deep but lazy beats and squelched organ sounds, hits my ears like the sound of my mother waking me from a wonderful sunny daydream in the middle of some forgotten summer. Bliss, I tell you. Driving with this on may be unsafe.

1. Fly 2
2. Vinyl Worlds
3. When The Night Comes
4. Doki Doki Last Night
5. Fly Variation
6. 26th Floor
7. Alien

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