Takagi Masakatsu Eating Review

BBC Review

Multimedia artist Masakatsu releases his fourth CD of lush minimalist electronica.

Peter Marsh 2002

Takagi Masakatsu splits his time between video art, installations and music, and over his last 3 cds has perfected a brand of impressionistic, fragile electronica that sits well with the lush, sometimes abstract imagery of his visual work.

Eating compiles pieces recorded between 1996 and 2002, and inhabits the same headspace mapped out by Susumo Yokota or Nobukazu Takemura's Childs View project. Over 13 short tracks, Masakatsu constructs delicate minimalist soundscapes populated with clicking digital marimbas, soft, spectral shimmers and gentle arpeggiated chords from crystalline electric piano sounds. Streaks of faltering accordion or (as on the sunkissed Burt Bacharach stylings of 'Fausel") semi-cheesy organ lines wander through; occasionally cloudy, distant beats emerge ("Mihyn").

Some pieces offer a bit more grit; "Angje" builds nagging synthetic rhythms that eventually flower into a muted breakbeat matrix, while the odd "Woei" flirts with a studied discordance. Elsewhere though, Masakatsu offers seductive ambience that at its least successful borders on twee (as in the dayglo plastic textures of "trot").

Where he scores is in his sensitive deployment of texture and simple yet effective deployment of musical material. Chords hang unresolved, or faltering rhythms underpin fragmented yet graceful melodies. For the most part, Masakatsu avoids the glitch, preferring to create subtle discontinuities through big intervallic leaps and occasional rhythmic eccentricites.

Though sounding dissimilar, Masakatsu's work echoes that of Brian Eno's semi-ambient works in that both harbour a slight, intangible sense of threat beneath their still,unbroken surfaces. Worth a listen.

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