Over the years Takemura's music has defied categorization. He compares his approach to that of a DJ; he uses the computer in the same way a DJ uses a turntable. In performance he augments with keyboards, acoustic guitar and live interactive video. In an approach similar to that of Mouse on Mars, Takemura's sound sources instruments rather than computer generated audio files. While he often times plays many of these instruments himself, he also has a crew of guests ranging from fellow Childisc artists in Kyoto, Japan to Tortoise's Doug McCombs or Gray Market Goods' Ken Brown. However, on 10th Takemura plays all the instruments with the only guest being his long time musical partner and lyricist Aki Tsuyuko.
From the most minimal to the more beat oriented tracks, the word most frequently used to describe Takemura's work is "playful". The playful sense certainly comes from his bright and bouncy melodies as he often uses piano, vibraphone and acoustic instruments and rarely selects dark tones. The most striking new element of 10th is the vocals. The vocals are created using the technology of speech-synthe. This technology was created for use by the physically handicapped as a means of communication with medical-related personnel and others. Takemura utilizes this technology to "sing". He invites interaction between listener and record. The surprising voice triggers images of the source. Are the vocals processed? What is the vocalist like -- is it computer and keyboard? One can not help but wonder about the machine behind the voice. This playful interaction is the essence of 10th. "Lost Treasure", performed live on the Plaid tour with a video simulating an animated vocalist, is a classic example of this. The main melody is carried by the computer vocals and complimented by keyboard and vibraphone tones. "The Ring of Spell" has layers of delicate bell tones, vocal fragments and clarinets. The layers enfold into a baroque tapestry of sound. From "Perch" to "At Lake Yogo" the tempo of the album builds with delicate layers and moves along with a rolling beat. Crank it up, put on your headphones, and be invited and transported into a magical world. Inspired by the nature of Kyoto, Takemura has created a record that flows like a stream, turning and twisting in unexpected ways, ending peacefully in Lake Yogo.
Nabakan's cover illustration of otherworld toys marching from the heart of a large figure is a great welcome mat to the world of Takemura. He creates sounds and shows that stand independent in the world of electronica. Together, he and Aki Tsuyoko create claymation programmed to move in sync with the music for live performance. The claymation is used in the same manner as the speech-synthe; the clay figures simulate movement drawing the viewer into Takemura's world. Like the computer assembled instruments, this communication and interaction uses the latest technology on hand made sources. Playful, experimental and entirely unique, Nobukazu Takmura's 10th is the first in a series of records by Takemura in 2003.