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Nobukazu Takemura
(Thrill Jockey)

Although he had previously released at least one disc in the United States under the Child's View moniker, Nobukazu Takemura made his actual debut with this full length release just over a year ago. While the aforementioned releases were (as the title suggested) a bit more playful and adhering to traditional song structure, Scope showcases the more experimental work by Takemura and it's definitely not for everyone. With 5 tracks spread out over almost an hours time, his work is somewhat similar to that by Markus Popp (Oval), except on a larger scale and with a few other changes.

I have a feeling that most people who would hear this release would probably even question whether it's music at all. With electronic chirps and gurgles and hums that stretch out and overlap sometimes seemingly only in random structures, it sometimes simply sounds like someone messing around with high tech equipment and making noises that either sounds like aliens talking to one another (think Predator style) or two video game consoles mating with one another (graphic, I know, but it has to be said). While Takemura does use random sequencers in some of his music, one thing that he seems to be interested in is finding patterns in the longer pieces of music. Like the frenetic (yet somewhat structured) line drawings on the cover of the album, it's sort of an order within chaos theory of music.

The album starts out with probably the most difficult track on the release to digest ("On A Balloon"), so if you can make it past the 22 minutes of panning glitches (which sounds like a CD-skipping) and little pops of static and other nice tones, you'll be in for a nice journey. Even after what seems like completely random stretches of time, the track keeps coming back to the same, 3 note theme. The following track "Kepler" is quite possibly the most beatiful track on the release. sounding somewhat like an update of Steve Reichs "Music For 18 Musicians" (which should come as no surprise since Takemura has listed him as an influence and contributed what I considered the best remix to the Reich Remixed release).

The 11-minute "Taw" really isn't much of a song at all, instead it simply sounds like a string of wacky sounds that one can make with some cool instruments. It literally sounds like what you'd imagine a computer belch or fart to sound like. "Icefall" sounds just as the title suggests and is literally a cascading sheet of pretty glitch noise that has been made into a singing chorus before the disc closes out with the most normal (and shortest) of the tracks with the ambient "Tiddler." Although it's probably not for everyone, there are some really interesting things to be found on the release, and if you're into hearing the definition of music pushed into a bit stranger territory, this is one place you might look.

Rating: 6.25