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Tujiko Noriko - Blurred In My Mirror

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Artist: Tujiko Noriko

Album: Blurred In My Mirror

Label: Room40

Review date: Nov. 10, 2005

I’d like to see an edit of The Passion of Christ with some of the cuts off Blurred In My Mirror as the soundtrack. This new album’s slow moving rhythms and phat bass speak of burden. If you’re looking for oppressive music, this seven song collection lectures eloquently on the erotics of oppression.

The personality at the center of this world is Tujiko Noriko. And the thing is, she takes the burden with style. Her unconventional approach to melody - steady even rhythms and a significant distrust of the standard pop modes – suggests a small-voiced female who is apathetic to the weightiness of her environment. She moves fluidly through it, passing into multiple areas in the stereo space, sometimes existing in multiple simultaneous vocal bodies to evade the weight of existence.

If you know Tujiko’s work you know we’re talking glitch. Blurred is composed predominantly from a wide palette of machine sound, but, interestingly, it’s tempered here most often by frequent use of a number of acoustic percussion sounds. There are moments where thinner textures reign, but a lot of the album uses these two elements to create fairly dense (weighty!) textures.

All of the tracks have set up camp somewhere in the outer regions of the People’s Republic of the Song Form. A few are within walking distance from the capital – they have a beat and a melody and it’s only the strange durations of machine sound ornaments that serve to distract from those songish pleasures. Others live more in the breakaway territory of Collage – where elements co-exist, co-create and co-inform in organizations listeners like you and I and Mel Gibson have not heard enough times to have created names for. It is these tracks that interest me most, they demand a commitment, demand that you get out of whatever chronospace you normally occupy when you wonder where you rank in the history of beautiful people or you take calls from the demon who set you up as one of the Nielsen families. Who doesn’t need to be commanded occasionally into new oppressive chronospaces?

Me, you say? Well, then I should mention other things that might turn you off:

a) The album is short – Just when you’re getting really oppressed, the album ends and you realize it's much nicer to be oppressed aesthetically than through all those other forms you gotta deal with and you want more and might not know where to get it.

b) The language thing – Not a problem for me, of course (I’m Suriku!), but if you don’t speak Japanese and don’t like feeling left out of the texts, do note that five out of the seven tracks are mostly in Japanese.

Tujiko is joined on Blurred by a number of collaborators, most notably electro-performer-thinker-composer Aki Onda and by producer Lawrence English. Blurred is out on English’s Room 40 label/arts organization so, should you buy the album, your money is going to something that is seemingly at least partly an altruistic conscious expanding project making collective. Which is good, right?

So to review: glitchy, phat, distributed-feminine collage with lots of beautiful percussion coming together to oppress you. Jesus said, “Eloi eloi lama sabatchthani.” Tujiko says, “I all ever wanted was everything. All I ever got is cold.” "Tennisplayer Makes a Smile?" I smiled two or three times too.

By Suriku Rineto

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