Maxi On, Takako's new album assisted by New York electronic outfit Dymaxion, will be one of those records. A seven-song EP with dream-like keyboards/sound effects and Takako's ethereally high-pitched, Japanese-accented vocals, Maxi On is the most mature Takako release yet. Even considering her past collaborations with Cornelius, Bay Area luminaries Sweet Trip, and Buffalo Daughter, Takako's essence has never been captured quite so gravely and magnificently.
Like her other albums, on Maxi, Takako uses her voice, sophisticated computers, and keyboards to produce sounds that are extremely instinctual. For instance, her opaque, sincere piano onomatopoeias sound much like a baby's natural "coo" and "da" noises--the origins of speech. Similar to her keyboard effects on "Brioche" and "Picnic at Loose Rock," Minekawa creates a fluffy atmosphere through "ahhs" "oohs," and melodic breaths layered upon each other. At points, she'll add flowing-water clicks, like a babbling brook or anmiotic fluid. It forms a slightly strawberry-scented protective cloud around the listener, like tumbling through the daze of a dream. Dreams were, in fact, the abstract concept she had in mind while creating the album.
On "A Report of an Investigation," Takako sings a story over the morphing sounds of a train or factory. Unlike the realist assembly-line effects on Bjork's Selmasongs, however, the steam and whistles in the song sound futuristic--they recall a far-off place and time that could have only existed in the pixels of clouds and physics.
Takako Minekawa's music is minimalism at an accelerated evolution, taking extremely simple, sometimes archaic (keyboard technology-wise) sounds and layering them until there is a bursting, shape-shifting landscape of a song. Maxi On is electronic music as both orchestration and incredibly unique art--instinctual and fore-thinking--and it's genius.