Takako Minekawa solo live at Tensai Sansūjuku

Text and photos by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound

カセット&ラジカセ普及企画(仮)On March 19, Minekawa Takako played a solo show part of a cassette-themed exhibition. Held at Asakusabashi Tensai Sansūjuku, a multipurpose venue, the exhibition showed various artworks made using audio cassettes, and also boomboxes of all kinds were on display. The small venue has two floors, with a bar counter on the 1st floor and a tatami room on the 2nd, that's where the show was held.

After a little wait, guests were led to the 2nd floor, where Takako was already playing some tapes as BGM. She had remade a broken cassette into a cute hair accessory. It was a bit unclear when the show officially started, as people were still chatting while she had already began adding synth sounds over the tapes.

カセット&ラジカセ普及企画(仮) カセット&ラジカセ普及企画(仮)

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Her playing technique was similar to when I saw her duo with Dustin Wong (live report), with who she released album "Toropical Circle" last year. She sampled and looped her keyboard and voice, progressively adding layers of sound using just a few effect pedals. Not using any pre-recorded backtrack (only the tapes that played continuous random beat-less sounds), all the music we heard was played live.

Some parts of her set focused on using tapes, as it was the theme of the exhibition. She would play several tapes at the same time, and sometimes point a microphone to a boombox speaker to sample and loop the sound. This went further than just using sound recorded on the tapes, as she would make noise by opening and closing cassette boxes, dropping cassettes on the floor, resulting in nostalgic sounds for anyone who ever owned cassettes. She sampled these sounds too.

Other parts of the show were spent at her Korg keyboard, on which she performed phrases that she had prepared. Being a solo show it felt like she had a lot of freedom to experiment, not letting the rhythm get too tight and mechanical but rather adding human touches. She also often whispered into her microphone to add vocals to the loops. When with Dustin many songs end with a clear guitar chord, but on her own she tends to stop the looped music and say one last word.

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One great highlight of the show was an old song from album "Roomic Cube", titled "Destron". That was a wonderful surprise! She played this one simply with no looping, just accompanying her voice with a low bass line.

Minekawa Takako having been quite active lately, both with Dustin Wong and sometimes on her own like this, makes me look forward to what may be coming up next!

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr


Live information:

Minekawa Takako & Dustin Wong can be seen live on April 12 at an event at Kōmyōji (temple) in Kamakura, part of the "Stephan Mathieu + Taylor Deupree + Federico Durand Japan tour 2014". Reservations can be made here (at the bottom of the page).


Takako Minekawa "Destron"

Takako Minekawa & Dustin Wong "Party on a Floating Cake"

Tags: MINEKAWA Takako (click for more info)

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I'm really happy she is starting back up again. I was afraid she would never get back into music again! I hope she does release a proper solo album soon!

Posted by Christian on


Same here! :)

Posted by Patrick on



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