An intimate afternoon with the pioneering Japanese artist.
Tokyo-born composer and musician Midori Takada has always looked at the world differently. In a Coca-Cola bottle, Takada sees a flute. In a rush of blood to the head and pulsating heartbeats, Takada hears percussion. In silence, Takada feels rhythm.
Though she has been performing and creating music since the 1970s – releasing albums as part of her MKWAJU Ensemble and solo, collaborating with legendary theatre director Tadashi Suzuki, and teaching as a professor of music in Japan – for decades Takada remained relatively unknown to wider audiences.
Until a few years ago, when the mysterious algorithmic forces of the internet forever changed that. In 2016, a YouTube video of her 1983 album Through The Looking Glass, a cult record among collectors, amassed over 1 million views. That particular upload has since been removed, however a reissue of the album by WRWTFWW shortly afterward fuelled international fervour.
As she releases her first new music in twenty years, Le Renard Bleu – a collaborative 20-minute track with Lafawndah inspired by the mythological legend of The Blue Fox, we spent an afternoon with Takada at Union Chapel ahead of her London show.
Following an intimate rehearsal, Takada spoke with us about her unique approach to sound and performance, what inspires her, and what she would like to teach people about her music.
A unique visionary, whose work is finally getting the recognition it so long deserved, we’re celebrating her music in its many forms. Watch the film above, look through photographs from the performance at Union Chapel, take a journey through her discography, and delve into Through the Looking Glass in our extended interview.
All images by Pawel Ptak for The Vinyl Factory.