Label: Karaoke Kalk (Germany)
Catalog: KK 053LP
LP version. This is Takeo Toyama's second full-length release for the Karaoke Kalk label, previously released on the now-defunct Japan Overseas label in 2003. Takeo Toyama was born in Osaka, Japan, and his classical influence is owed to his mother who would listen to Beethoven and Chopin. Coming from a rock/pop background, the trained pianist soon discovered the world of pure instrumental sounds. His first remixes were for the well-known Japanese producer and label boss Nobukazu Takemura. 1998 saw the release of Toyama's first solo album Ground Piano, for which he recorded almost all the instruments himself, where discordant harmonies and fast-changing beats became the trademark of Takeo's sound variations. Right now, what he's becoming more and more known for throughout Europe are his digital compositions for analog instruments. Electronic transformations were the characteristics of Toyama's first release, Hello 88, on Karaoke Kalk (2003).
The highlight of the album were vocal parts that reminded very much of the Beach Boys, proving Takeo's great affinity for pop music. He has now started to arrange tracks for various artists, TV shows and animation and is also in great demand as a composer for modern dance choreographies. Takeo Toyama's songs sound very cheerful, as if they were made for Saturday morning cartoons. But despite their cheeriness, the compositions drift into saturnine realms, too, occasionally awakening the evil monster in a classic silent movie. His new release, Etudes, features an extraordinary spectrum of sounds: piano, melodica, strings, accordion. The catchy melodies are flattering to the ears before explosive and melancholic thunderstorms pierce the mind. Recurring structures don't materialize. Takeo tells us his little stories in a kind of blue and very authentic manner, browsing all the different worlds of international sound-design. Classical music and jazz meet buzzing electronica.