it's a time i look back on fondly. it took me less than ten minutes to walk to work from my apartment which started it's life as a boarding house for swedish sailors at the turn of the century. i would walk past empty storefronts, artist's studios, bars and cool old apartment buildings (now all trendy boutiques, tattoo parlors and over-priced restaurants). once i clocked in, i got paid to hang out with cool people, listen to cool music and take new movie rentals home for free.
i discovered one of my all-time favorite musicians during this period and i love her just as much today as i did back then. i'm talking about takako minekawa.
takako was born in japan in 1969. she worked briefly as a child actor and developed a love of music through piano lessons and her mother's gift of a combination keyboard / calculator. after performing in a few different bands in the early 1990's (lolita, fancy face groovy name, L<->R), she released her first solo album 'chat chat' in 1994. 1997 was the year that her second solo effort, 'roomic cube' saw a US release.
it was 'roomic cube' that i found while browsing through cd's during one of my shifts. one listen was all it took to hook me- totally bass heavy, filled with sweet melodies and some of the best lyrical writing i've ever encountered. over the years i researched takako online (a new thing to me then!) and found that she was terminally adorable and cool too.
so i was listening to 'roomic cube' and 'maxi on!' yesterday when it occurred to me, 'maxi on!' was her last release and it came out in 2000. i googled her and did a lot of reading and as far as i can tell, she sort of dropped off the planet after 'maxi on!'.
i know that around that time, she married japanese electro-musician keigo oyamada, aka cornelius, with whom she has a child, named milo. so am i to assume that being a wife and mother is more than enough for our dear takako?? she is certainly entitled to be fulfilled and happy as such but it's a real loss to music lovers everywhere. what i loved about her so much was that each album she released was a new evolution of her genius. never one to rehash the old, her sound was always evolving and brilliantly so. i want to hear takako's musical vision NOW as we enter a new decade.
takako pictured with yumiko ohno of the band buffalo daughter
i haven't given up hope that someday we'll hear from her again. in the meantime i'm going to treasure my memories of discovering her music and all of the new doors it opened for me in the world of music.