Takako Minekawa, Cloudy Cloud Calculator (Emperor Norton)

Posted December 31st, 1998 by admin

Takako Minekawa
Cloudy Cloud Calculator
Emperor Norton
By: Eric G.

Takako Minekawa is a star in Japan where she has been in the public eye since she was a child actress. She currently stars in Sony Playstation commercials, writes a column for Keyboard Magazine, and creates bizarre electro-pop based on clouds, color, and light, using only analog synthesizers because of her affinity for French pop music as well as bands like Kraftwerk, whom she pays homage to in "Kraftpark." Minekawa even uses a vocoder to ensure that the song is an authentic tribute.

Minekawa's music seems fluffy and cute on the surface, but do not be deceived by the seemingly wide-eyed image she puts forth. She injects everything from off-kilter, doubled-up beats to sound effects that seem strange, almost out of place into her simple melodies. Her voice is soft and charming and sounds like a typical Japanese girl struggling with English, but her lyrics are obtuse, philosophical, and stream-of-consciousness. She has strange obsessions that inspire her songs, namely: cats, the number 47, and the color white.

Cloudy Cloud Calculator is an up-beat foray into the world of synthetics, and Minekawa is an unique songwriter with an ear for savory melodies. Her bouncy arrangements gush with positive energy. She gets ultra-cool points for covering the Joe Meek song, "Telstar", which she gives an eerie reworking complete with otherworldly space effects. Joe Meek was a producer in the 60's who pioneered sci-fi rock using pre-synth space effects and his influence seems to have shaped some of Minekawa's musical tastes and tendencies. Minekawa plans to release a remixed version of Cloudy Cloud Calculator with Cornelius, Markus Popp, and Kid Koala.

Tags: review