Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa – Savages Imagination. Album review.
Let’s see my notes! Well, at first, who is Takako Minekawa?

Do you remember the J-pop explosion in the 90s? Exactly I think the members of shibuya-key movement, e.g. Pizzicato 5, Cornelius, Kahimi Kane, Fantastic Plastic Machine, Towa Tei, Maki Nomiya and others. Among them Takako Minekawa made the wittiest music. Her particular experimental electro-pop was influenced by the 60s French Yé-Yé and Brazilian Tropicalia movements, Pet Shop Boys and Kraftwerk, house and the fashionable electronic dance music of the 90s, for instance the Ninja Tunes’ artists. And her music was nevertheless unmistakeable Japanese. It was very playful and silly parade of sounds and moods. Between two catchy pop songs always was something peculiar, but funny abstraction, but often also inside the catchy pop melodies. Her records were released between 1995 and 2000, and there was a hit in 1996, Fantastic Cat

After 13 years silence she came back last year with a common album with Dustin Wong. He is a Hawaiian born half Chinese/half American guitarist. He grew up in Japan and went to college to the US. There he founded an experimental guitar duo with Matthew Papich (nowadays: Co La): Ecstatic Sunshine (2004-07), and a Deerhoofesque art rock band: Ponytail (2005-11). After the break-up he has begun solo career, and makes experimental guitar albums. And now here is the next Minekawa & Wong album. And it’s (or at least, I like it) better than the previous one. The music is very playful and silly parade of sounds and moods. Inside the songs, between two peculiar, but funny abstract electro-pop melodies, always are catchy pop tunes. Unfortunately many people averse to the phrase “pop”, and same time they consider “rock”, “metal” and  “punk” as positive things, when there are many load of shit under the label of “rock”, “metal” and “punk.” This is pop, because this is not rock. Rather alternative disco a la Mouse on Mars.

And here is another strange thing. The “Savage Imagination” comes the Beastie Boys in my mind, while this is almost entirely instrumental album. And this fact has been observed after I listened to it many times! Well, their rate of creativity is equivalent with the mentioned boys.

LP and CD out on 22 September by Thrill Jockey Records (US)

CD and digital on Plancha Records (Japan)

And finally let’s see the cats!
A rabbit tail long interview with Takako Minekawa

– How many cats are living with you?

– I have two cats in my heart.

– Their names?

– Animus and Anima.

– Which is your favorite? Why?

– They are two cats, but they are one at the same time. She/He see feel..

– What is the most amazing story related with your cats?

– Cats are pretty liberated and self centered, and when you watch them and observe them they seem very human. They are so gentle. I remember seeing two cats. I think they were brother/sister. One was giving another a body massage. My mind got very clam watching them.

– Fantastic cat is based on a real cat or it’s about an imaginary cat ideal?

– Fantastic cat is an imaginary cat, a human/cat. At the time, I had cat allergy. I love cats, but I can’t have… so it was sad, but after that, I lived with two old cats, and my cat allergy is disappeared!.

– Please send an exclusive pic from your cat(s) to us.

cat_takako


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