14 May Event Review: KRANKBROTHER Presents Midori Takada and Jan Jelinek at the Union Chapel, London
By Dan Formless on Tuesday 17th April 2018
Midori Takada was at London’s iconic Union Chapel for the very first time. The enigmatic Japanese composer and percussionist (now in her mid 60’s) saw a significant resurgence in 2017, with the reissue of both her groundbreaking 1982 solo album ‘Through the Looking Glass’, and collaboration with Masahiko Satoh, ‘Lunar Cruise’. Her past Mkwaju Ensemble albums, ‘Mkwaju’ and ‘Ki-Motion’, are also planned to be reissued by WRWTFWW this Spring.
There was an energy about her performance the belied her years. When she spoke there was real conviction and unwavering belief in what she was saying. When she played there was an aura of authority and familarity with her instruments. There was no “fake it till you make it” here. No trying to be cool. Just pure expression and commitment to conveying a message.
I sat with a long lost friend who I had bumped into by chance at the interval. His companion was a self confessed fan girl of Midori Takada and at the end made a bee-line for her, not get an autograph, but just to get to speak to her. There were perhaps 20 or so of the 300+ attendees with the same intentions and it was pleasing to see a headliner so gracious with her time and genuinely interested in speaking to her fans and connecting with them. The saying “never meet your heros” didn’t apply here.
Her body of work is described as lucid and dreamlike, ambient, minimal and mystical. According to Takada herself: “Everything that exists on this earth has a sound,” she says. “Even if humans don’t call it an instrument, on this earth, there exists a significant vibrancy.”
The audience was generally a bit more mature and I pictured younger ears perhaps thinking it was just gong bashing with teh occasional triangle. There was certainly a level of experimentation that one does not even get in her releases. In a lot fo ways this was refreshing. She pushed the envelope and overall it worked.
Support came from Jan Jelinek who, for me, stole the show. An experimental producer who’s defining 2001 album Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records is revered as one of the all-time great electronic records. Jan’s live performances are a rare thing and we were treated to something completely different to what I had expected. It was bleepy and complicated, but it had a rhythm and musicality to it that anyone who has attempted to make music with electronic instruments will testify to being incredibly challenging to achieve.
There was something about his music in the beautiful surroundings of The Union Chapel that made so much sense. The L’Acoustic speakers and simple lighting really connected the audience with the artist