MICABOX feat.AYAKO TAKATO
Released October 2006 on the Far Side label. On the album Hinemosu, Micabox combine ancient with modern Japan. Kagura (music for the gods) minyo (local folk) and other Oriental sounds are mixed with the cutting edge electronics of Toshimi Mikami, together with help from his mentor, the legendary Haruomi Hosono (ex-YMO) and superb female vocalist Ayako Takato. Hosono who mixed and adds additional sounds to this CD has been a pioneering musician in Japan for several decades, at the forefront of creating Japanese rock music with the group Happy End, technopop with his group Yellow Magic Orchestra (along with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi) world music and electronic dance music. Kagura "god music" is music and dance played at shrines, and is probably Japan's most ancient surviving music. It has its roots in acts of magic in worship of the gods inhabiting the forest and sea. Minyo are local Japanese folk songs of which literally thousands exist, from the far north of Hokkaido to the deep south of Okinawa. It wasn't until Mikami met female singer Ayako Takato in the Pan-Pacific Mongoloid Unit, a group run by Haruomi Hosono of which Mikami is also a member that Mikami had found a singer with the versatility to sing the tunes he had composed over a number of years. The album is a bit like a snapshot of today's Japan; where the grounds of an ancient, peaceful temple stands adjacent to the blazing neon of an advertising hoard. A curious mixture of the old and new, spiritual and hi-tech, serenity and chaos.
The rhythm of this song is based on hayashi, a small band of percussionists used in local kagura and festival music. Hosonos mix puts the emphasis on the bass and kick drum. The high tone flute used in kagura is here imitated on a keyboard, adding an eccentricity to the sound.
Inspired by the god Okitama. Ayakos voice creates a spiritual atmosphere, while Mikami adds a shamanic chant.
Probably the song on the album with the strongest Haruomi Hosono identity and style.
Originally written in 1980s it finally metamorphosed into this version. Features the Balinese cymbal, ceng-ceng and the accordion, the sound inspired by the harmonium that accompanied late Pakistani qawaali master, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Tarcho means the five colored printed prayer flag of Tibetan Buddhist chants. Contains a sample of the Tibetan horn.
This is an old minyo song called Mamurogawa Ondo. A radical modernized version of minyo, and a brilliant mix by Hosono, juxtaposing the vocal and rhythm.
7. ANATA NI AITAI
The intro is a sampled khaen. the Thai bamboo mouth organ used especially in northeast morlam. .Also contains the Japanese traditional flute mizubue, that imitates a birds singing.
8. HARETARA come shine or come rain
Evokes the image of the southeast Asian countryside. This arrangement has elements of New Orleans music and Japanese minyo.
9. TSUBAME- rice terrace dreaming
Again inspired by Thai morlam and other music from Isaan, the dry northeast region.
10. SEIREI NO SHIMA
Originally inspired by flowers blooming in the high Himalayas, after adding the sound of a metal zither and the Indonesian bamboo suling flute, the atmosphere changed more to that of a southern island.
11. NITE TRIPPER OMOIGUSA
Urban atmosphere with an ether-vibe, very Hosono-like especially his album Swing Slow. The second part is a minyo inspired, based on the song Itsuki no Komoriuta.
Starts off with hayashi percussion inspired by the kagura music called Oki Dozen Kagura from the Okinoshima islands in the Japan Sea. Ayakos incredibly high voice adds to the unique sound. The title Takuhi comes from the name of the shrine associated with Oki Dozen Kagura.
Chill out tune, with Hosono adding interesting sounds at random.