A vital reissue of Takada's work as part of Mkwaju Ensemble.
With the rapturous reception that Takada's singular solo album Through The Looking Glass received upon being reissued (as well as a recent string of tour dates in Europe and America), it's fitting that attention now gets turned to her earlier band. Whereas Through The Looking Glass was ascetic and rigorous, Ki-Motion reveals that in a group setting Takada could also be limber, free-flowing and expansive. Steadfast and focused as she was on her solo album, traces of that concentration abound here, but with added textures and layers.
The opener, "Wood Dance," careens with a dizzying array of percussion, woven together with zigzagging synth lines and disembodied voices above the polyrhythmic patterns. The haunting "Maximum α" shows a deep knowledge of Indonesian gamelan and the humid atmospheres of Jon Hassell's Fourth World explorations. Stately metallophone and gong lines gurgle to the surface here, as electronic smears bring to mind distant tribal voices and the sound of Hassell's treated trumpet tones. Struck bells and chirpy toy sounds make the whimsical title track resemble a child's music box brought to life.
The slow-moving, elegant "Hot Air" is closest in spirit to what Takada would achieve solo on Through The Looking Glass, with the ensemble moving at the pace of a cloud drifting across a blue sky. "Zindo Zindo" puts a studious dedication to African drumming styles on display, while slowly allowing a buzzing synth and trilling melody to weave around the polyrhythms and take them somewhere else. The sound evokes a nebulous in-between space that informs any number of current practitioners, from Don't DJ and Black Merlin to Pendant (AKA Huerco S.) and Kate NV. It deepens the mystery of Midori Takada while also allowing more fans to hear her slim but profound catalogue.