Photo by Jim Newberry
Nobukazu Takemura is a Japanese musician whose style has run from jazz to house to drum and bass to chamber music to electronic glitch within less than a decade. Born in Osaka in August of 1968, he became interested in punk and New Wave music at a young age, and by high school, after a record store job that exposed him to Jazz and Hip hop, he had regular gigs as a battle DJ.
In 1990, Takemura founded Audio Sports with Yamatsuka Eye (of the Japanese noise band The Boredoms) and Aki Onda. Their first album, Era of Glittering Gas, was released in 1992 (after which Onda subsequently took control of the project), the same year as Takemura's first solo album, under the name DJ Takemura. He has also released material with Spiritual Vibes (since 1993) and as Child's View (since 1994). He is currently paired with Childisc vocalist/composer Aki Tsuyuko under the touring name of Assembler.
He founded the Lollop and Childisc labels ; his voluminous releases, remixes, and collaborations make a comprehensive discography difficult, and his music often defies any easy categorization. He emerged in the US after the release of Scope on the Thrill Jockey label in 1999, an album that features delicate melodies blossoming from oceans of white noise and staccato electronics.
His unique and complex approach to melody and instrumentation has generated a catalog of collaborations with critically acclaimed artists from various places in the world. From Issey Miyake, who had him create music for 2 seasons of designs, from Steve Reich to DJ Spooky from Yo La Tengo to Tortoise.
Takemura frequently performs using a hybrid instrument he largely developed, the no-input mixing board. The instrument consists of a standard mixing board, with one or several of the outputs connected back to the inputs. This creates feedback, and through manipulation of the mixing board, this feedback can be carefully controlled, allowing for a huge range of effects, from rhythmic clicks to white noise.
Takemura was also responsible for the sound design of Sony's robotic dog Aibo. In the January 2002 issue of the UK music magazine The Wire, he notes that conveying hundreds of emotions through the dog's few simple sounds was not easy :
"Usually people don't think consciously of what it's like to be angry or to cry ... humans can obviously use words to express themselves. To create the sounds of emotions was a difficult task."