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Hoshi No Koe

Nobukazu Takemura
Hoshi No Koe
(Thrill Jockey)

With his Scope release, Nobukazu Takemura introduced the US to his glitch-filled (but often times beautiful) world. Hoshi No Koe is the quick follow-up to that release, and just in case you're a hardcore fan, he's dropping yet another release almost concurrently (the upcoming Sign). Not only that, but on his own label in Japan (Childisc), he's releasing another 7 CDs. He's prolific to say the least, and although his latest release is probably the best overview and showcase of his work, a tad bit more restraint could probably be argued in hopes of an even more solid release.

One of the interesting things about Hoshi No Koe (which means "voice(s) of a star" - thanks Matthias) is that it contains just so many different styles of music and so much of it. There are short songs that sound like they were composed on plastic kids instruments, while there are others that run on for long amounts of time and again show Takemura's fascination with the glitch. At nearly 80 minutes, the disc is a pretty big helping to sit down and digest in one listening, but it does change up a fair amount from song to song.

Things start out in a very playful way on the short "One Day," which is just loads of little chimes all layered together in what most people would call a "cute" way. It's pretty and light and the bird samples in the background give it even a more open feel. On "Anemometer," Takemura takes a sort of hoppity, goofy beat and loops it underneath some more pretty melodies that change ever so slightly throughout the course of the song. It runs a bit long at almost 13 minutes, but if you're having a hard time struggling out of bed in the morning, it might be the perfect soundtrack.

From there, he drops a bit of Oval-like glitch weirdness with the short "Honey Comb" before the entirely silly "White Sheep and Small Light" which honestly sounds like it was done with nothing more than several tracks of a recorder. The fifth track on the album is probably the most mentionable, though, mainly because it's the track in which Takemura perfectly blends his experimental side into a track that has genuine pop sensibility. "Sign" (presumably from the upcoming album) layers some of the skippy-CD noises and other little cracks and pops over a great beat and holds them all together with vocodored vocals that bounce along through a couple different pitch variations.

From that point out, the album shifts a bit more towards the experimental side of things with the epic length "A Chrysalis." For the first half of the 17-minute track, light tones shift and bounce off one another in seemingly random ways, before coming together into something that shimmers and pulses with beauty (hence, the title). "Trampoline" is a gurgling, stuttering track that blurps along while "In The Room-Roof-Wood" repeats the same four-tone melody (of a harp) throughout nine minutes while slowly adding and taking away new elements. It's pretty, but a smidge long. That statement sums up probably my main problem with the album, which is that many songs simply go on a bit too long. Takemura has some great ideas and has created some amazing tracks, but it's definitely not an album for the short-attention spanned. If you like what you've heard by him in the past, this is probably his best effort thusfar, and you can be sure he'll be releasing a hell of a lot more in the future.

Rating: 7.5