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MIDORI TAKADA

Midori Takada

Tree Of Life - 2022 Reissue

    WRWTFWW Records is proud to announce the worldwide reissue of Midori Takada’s solo album from 1999, Tree of Life, available on vinyl for the first time ever in a new audiophile mix by the Japanese percussionist herself, and in full half-speed-mastered glory.

    The 180g LP comes in a heavy sleeve with a beautiful design by Kohei Sugiura. Tree of Life is also available in CD (digipack) and digital formats.

    Originally recorded in September 1998 at legendary Ginza (Tokyo) studio Onkio Haus (founded in 1974 and where Ryuichi Sakamoto’s "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" and many more were recorded) and released on CD only for the Japan market in 1999, Tree of Life is Midori Takada’s best kept secret, a lost gem of minimalism and percussive ambient. The album is separated in two parts, the first one finds Takada exploring her trademark environmental soundscapes with precise mastery of marimba, drums, and bells, notably on the magnificent fan-favorite "Love Song Of Urfa". The second half is a collaboration with Chinese virtuoso Erhu player Jiang Jian Hua, allowing Midori Takada to unveil new layers of her artistic mind with a slightly more theatrical approach and a beautiful crystallization of complex simplicity.

    The entire album was given a fresh new audiophile mix by Midori Takada herself and was mastered at Emil Berliner Studios, with half speed cutting for the vinyl version, to ensure an audio presentation aligned with the Japanese pioneer’s vision.

    This Tree of Life reissue follows two newly recorded Midori Takada albums, Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter and You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana, both available on WRWTFWW Records, along with her 1983 masterpiece, Through The Looking Glass.


    TRACK LISTING

    Tracklist LP:
    A1. Love Song Of Urfa
    A2. Tan Tejah
    A3. Tayurani
    A4. Wa-Na-Imba
    B1. Modoki 1 (Futa-Aya-Asobi )
    B2. Awase 1 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    B3. Yukiai (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    B4. Awase 2 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    B5. Orifusi (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    B6. Modoki 2 (Futa-Aya-Asobi
    B7. Awase 3 (Futa-Aya-Asobi) B8. Usuyo (Futa-Aya-Asobi)

    Tracklist CD:
    01. Love Song Of Urfa
    02. Tan Tejah
    03. Tayurani
    04. Wa-Na-Imba
    05. Modoki 1 (Futa-Aya-Asobi )
    06. Awase 1 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    07. Yukiai (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    08. Awase 2 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    09. Orifusi (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    10. Modoki 2 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    11. Awase 3 (Futa-Aya-Asobi)
    12. Usuyo (Futa-Aya-Asobi)

    Midori Takada

    You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana - Half Speed Remastered

    Recorded at The Premises Studio (London) and in Tokyo in 2019, "You Who Are Leaving To Nirvana" is a majestic work combining a suite of six Buddhist liturgical chants and a musical creation by Midori Takada. The Buddhist chants come from three types of repertoires: shomyo ("Teisan", "Unga-Bai", "Sange", "Taiyo"), but also goeika ("Kannon-Daiji") and mantra ("Hannya-Singyo").

    After supervising the recording of the Buddhist chants, Midori Takada added her own compositions, with subtle layers of percussion and the melodies of her beloved marimba, giving full life to the sacred texts.

    Reverend Syuukoh Ikawa explains: ‘Shomyo is a form of declamation of sacred esoteric texts, inherited over many generations. The power of words goes far beyond their mere pronunciation. I think there is something that words alone cannot really convey. If I recite prayers in a musical way, the feeling transmitted will be even stronger than if I say it normally, in everyday language. I think that the musicality of a work carries a hidden power that cannot be expressed in words alone. The setting of the music has an additional power for you and for those around you who listen to it. The words of a song are not just words set to music. They carry an additional hidden power that cannot be expressed in any other way. Listening to Midori Takada's musical performance, the words truly seem to come alive.’

    Original recordings of the Buddhist chants are held in the International Archives of Folk Music (IAFM) at the MEG Museum in Geneva.

    The album sleeve features an artwork by famed Japanese sculptor Katsura Funakoshi selected by Midori Takada.

    The album comes with in-depth liner notes that include an interview with Midori Takada, a point of view by Zimbabwean scholar, musician and activist Forward Mazuruse, and background information on the project by Isabel Garcia Gomez and Madeleine Leclair from MEG Museum.

    The sleeve features an artwork by celebrated Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera.



    TRACK LISTING

    Side 1
    1. Teisan (0:58)
    2. Gyatei Gyatei (Drumming) (6:21)
    3. Unga-bai (4:49)
    4. Sange (4:50)
    Side 2
    1. Taiyo (11:10)
    2. Hannya-Singyo (3:46)
    3. Kannon-Daiji (5:50)

    Midori Takada

    Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter

    Recorded in a live setting and played with instruments conserved in the collections of the MEG Museum, “Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter” is Midori Takada’s very own rendition of "Nhemamusasa", a traditional work emblematic of the musical repertoire for mbira of the Shona of Zimbabwe, well known worldwide, thanks notably to its version by Paul F. Berliner included on the famed 1973 album “The Soul of Mbira”.

    The choice of this title by Midori Takada evokes the links between traditional African and contemporary music which are the foundation of this work, and it also translates the resolutely multicultural vision of the artist.

    Midori Takada explains: ‘African music is remarkable for its polyrhythms. Not only are there simultaneously several rhythmic motifs, sometimes as many as ten, but furthermore it may be that the part played by each musician has its own starting point and its own pace, all combining to form a cycle. All the cycles progress at the same time according to a single metrical structure which functions as a reference point, but which is not played by any one person from beginning to end. The structure emerges out of the multi-level parts, all different. With the Shona, the musical system is based on the polymelody: one performs simultaneously several melodic lines which are superimposed, each having its own rhythmic organization. It is truly captivating. In Western classical music, one four-beat rhythm induces some precise temporal framework and regular reference points, which come on the strong beats 1 and 3. But in the logic of the Shona musical system, and in other African music, the melody can begin in the very middle of the cycle and be continued up to some other place in an autonomous manner, as if it had its own personality. It’s very rich.’

    The album comes with in-depth liner notes that include an interview with Midori Takada, a point of view by Zimbabwean scholar, musician and activist Forward Mazuruse, and background information on the project by Isabel Garcia Gomez and Madeleine Leclair from MEG Museum.

    The sleeve features an artwork by celebrated Zimbabwean painter Portia Zvavahera.


    TRACK LISTING

    Side 1
    1. Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter (In The Morning) (21:28)
    Side 2
    1. Cutting Branches For A Temporary Shelter (In The Night) (22:37)

    MKWAJU Ensemble (Midori Takada)

    MKWAJU

      WRWTFWW Records is proud to announce the highly anticipated official reissue of holy grail album MKWAJU by acclaimed Japanese percussionist Midori Takada's MKWAJU ensemble, sourced from the original masters and available in two versions: a vinyl LP cut at Emil Berliner Studios (formerly the  in-house recording department of Deutsche Grammophon) and a digipack CD.

      Originally recorded in February and March 1981 and released by fabled Japanese avant-garde label Better Days (home of Ryuichi Sakamato's debut album, Yasuaki Shimizu's Kakashi, Colored  Music self-titled LP and many more) MKWAJU is the fruit of the collaboration between Takada's crew and world-famous composer/musical director Joe Hisaishi, the man behind most of of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli anime soundtracks and over 100 other films scores, including Takeshi Kitano's Sonatine, Hana-Bi, and Kikujiro. The ensemble's transcendental wonder is, in fact, the first-ever Midori Takada album and the first-ever Joe Hisaishi-produced album. Historic.

      Led by Midori Takada on marimba, gong, vibraphone, and tom tom, MKWAJU is an inventive and riveting take on Eastern and Western minimalist traditions, African rhythms, and early electronica. Drawing from its jazz-rooted polyrhythmic improvisations in the most inventive ways, the album covers a wide spectrum of sounds, from colorful dance floor-ready percussion pieces that stand somewhere between proto-techno and experimental synth-pop, to cinematic ambient landscapes and ethereal drone delicacies. The feverishly sought-after full-length is a stepping-stone in Midori Takada's career and an all-around pioneering album.

      Alongside Takada and Hisaishi (who not only produced the album but also played synthesizers), personnel on MKWAJU includes famed Japanese musicians Yoji Sadanari and Hideki Matsutake of KI-Motion fame, Junko Arase (heard on Satoshi Ashikawa's legendary Still Way - Wave Notation 2), and Pecker (whose stacked resume boasts collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Jun Fukamachi).

      TRACK LISTING

      01. Mkwaju
      02. Shak Shak
      03. Lemore
      04. Tira-Rin
      05. Pulse In The Mind
      06. Flash-Back

      Midori Takada & Lafawndah

      Le Renard Bleu

        Renard Bleu marks the first new music released by Takada in nearly twenty years; it would be difficult to overstate the importance of her return to the public eye.

        Her first solo record, 1983's Through the Looking Glass, has been rediscovered and heralded as a lost classic; the influence of her percussion trio, the Mkwaju Ensemble, continues to permeate and inspire a new generation entranced by its lucid beauty, playfulness, and sensual patience.

        Takada has performed in numerous film score orchestras, including the ensemble for Akira Kurasawa’s Dreams, coincidentally a key influence on Renard Bleu.

        Le Renard Bleu, the new musical and cinematic collaboration between Lafawndah and composer Midori Takada, and filmmakers Partel Oliva, takes a cross- generational echo as ground zero for recovering a crucial myth for uncertain times: the blue fox.

        As transmitted by Takada, the fox appears in both ancient Senegalese and Japanese folktales as the trickster archetype; belonging both to the heavens and to the earth, the fox is the agent of chaotic good, shaking the world up when its energy has become stagnant. Above all else, the fox is famous for its cunning nature.

        In the ensuing years, Takada has worked closely with theater group the Suzuki Company of Toga on productions of Electra and King Lear, an experience, she says, that allowed her to pursue “a unity of music, body and space.” Recent live solo performances have evinced the depths of her exploration of all three.
        Equally, it is Lafawndah’s freedom of tone, decentralized maps of ancient and modern music cultures, and alloying of devotional intensity with modern songcraft casts her as a distinct relative of Midori Takada’s.
        Over the course of two EPs, self- directed music videos, and countless live performances, Lafawndah has drawn out an uncompromising exploration of how theater, situational intervention, and choreography can amplify the affective palate of forward pop music. One can trace the influence of artists such as Meredith Monk, Carlos Sara, and Andy Kaufman as much as musical antecedents AR Rahmann, Missy Elliott, or Geinoh Yamashirogumi.

        It is in a mutual commitment to this unity that Lafawndah, Takada and Partel Oliva find fertile aesthetic common ground.

        Created in partnership with KENZO and premiered today via their channels, it was Partel Oliva who imagined a contemporary cinematic frame for the myth of the fox to re- appear, creating a hybrid of choreography and narrative around Takada and Lafawndah's performance of their joint composition (also titled Le Renard Bleu.) Returning to film in Japan for the third time, Partel Oliva's moving image work (Club Ark Eternal, The Pike and the Shield) has set the standard for and revolutionized the fashion art film. Their deployment of original music, dance, and a highly stylized mis en scene coalesces here in the casting of Los Angeles krump artist Qwenga as the eponymous fox, stalking the halls of the ancient Noh theater in which Takada and Lafawnda's performance takes place.



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