Nobukazu Takemura Songbook

Known primarily for his fun and quirky IDM exemplified in great electronic works like Hoshi No Koe, Takemura this time puts down his sequencer in favour of an acoustic guitar to lead a 16-piece band. Not a single synthetic note can be found on Songbook; instead, there is a horn section, cello, a very good drummer and a real live female vocalist instead of the usual computer generated vocals. Somewhere between free jazz, the warped pop aesthetic of Yoko Ono and the head bobbing grooves of Stereolab dwell this refreshingly different record. Some of the same sense of fun is resurrected from Hoshi No Koe, only this time multi-talented Takemura expresses these sentiments by leading an instrumental ensemble. Rather than hashing out permutations of the same thing, as is the case with most electronic artists, it is nice to hear an artist embark on something else and do it well. Jazzily abstract, often danceable and laced with a pop-like sensibility, but most importantly, fun — this is one very captivating record. Takemura’s quirky style is of course distinguishable, his aesthetic is not sacrificed, only his ability to be repetitive and dull. (Bubble Core)