Akiko's Cosmo Space — Julähsica to This Wonderful Day
(Musea MP-3308, 2015, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2016-01-02
Those who know Akiko Takahashi only from her role as drummer in various incarnations of the Japanese instrumental keyboard-heavy trio Ars Nova may be in for a big surprise on this, the first release of her solo project Akiko’s Cosmo Space. Julähsica means Cheers!, and indeed the twelve tunes herein are a joyful celebration of the wider range of Takahashi’s musical interests, not only as a drummer, but as a capable songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, enlisting friends from her other band Marble Sheep (guitarist Ken Matsutani and bassist Rie Miyazaki), guitarist and singer Bill Berends from Mastermind, as well as guitarist Takashi Mizoguchi, upright bassist Yasushi Tanaka, tuba player Toru Takada, and ehru player Yoshimi Inoue, along with recording engineer Miho Muira. If one tries to come up with a convenient genre to classify all of what’s here, one will certainly be left scratching their head in bewilderment. Cosmic? Not really, at least in the sense of the cosmiche sound pioneered by folks like Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. Is it Space Rock? There are definitely some strong space rock / psychedelic threads on several of the songs herewithin, but it’s only a small part of the overall vista. More than anything, this is in solid avant-garde progressive territory, very experimental and very Japanese. Takahashi sings on every track, sometimes supported by Berends and backing vocals from others, sung in “cosmo sweetie language,” and occasionally English and Japanese; in the booklet the lyrics for every song are translated to English and Japanese, and listeners steeped in Japanese progressive rock of the 80s and 90s should have no trouble with the vocal stylings. For her part, Takahashi plays (in addition to drum kit) keyboards, mallet percussion, tympani, all songwriting and production. All taken, this is an adventurous and playful romp through a fantastic array of musical styles and avant-garde arrangements.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more