NobuKazu TAKEMURA with WABI at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Saturday (April 5), $12 advance, $15 door. 416-870-8000.
Innovative sound sculptor Nobukazu Takemura is all about adventuresome collaborations. He's created music with a wide range of artists, from iconoclastic Japanese fashion designer Issey Miyake to drum 'n' bass threat Roni Size. Admittedly, it does seem unusual that the sound synthesis expert Sony hired to design the sonic component of its robotic dog, Aibo, would suddenly decide to give up the laptop, get with some musicians and have a real live band for his current tour.
Yet the presentation of Takemura's latest work, 10th (Thrill Jockey), which finds our man going glitch with a focus on voice manipulation, and Assembler/Assember 2 (Thrill Jockey), a more minimal beat-oriented experiment, will be anything but a conventional band performance.
He'll have long-time associate Aki Tsuyuko handling the keyboards and claymation video projections, Tortoise's John Herndon providing the beats, and Herndon's Isotope 217 bandmate Matt Lux on guitar. It's shaping up to be a mind-roaster of a multimedia getdown.
"Performances using only laptops do not enable the audience to see the processes that are happening," explains Takemura through translator Hashim Bharoocha, "which makes the show meaningless. That's why I don't want to do shows any more using only a computer.
"A lot of artists onstage with their laptops aren't doing anything but playing back audio files.I really hate that. When I play live I want to receive something from the audience and try to give something back to them. If a live show isn't reciprocal there isn't any meaning in doing it."
As for Herndon, he isn't exactly sure why Takemura chose him for the tour -- not so much as an "I like the colour of your drum kit" was uttered by the notoriously silent sound scientist -- but he's definitely thrilled at the prospect.
"You know that sentence you spoke just now," chuckles the slightly hung-over Herndon from Chicago, "-- that was more than I've ever heard from Takemura. He's very, very, very quiet.
"His music is so beautiful to me, the whole idea of the collaboration is really exciting. He's such a bad boy. I can't wait to see how it all comes together."
Takemura won't be filling his collaborators in on the details of how the visuals will work with the music until they meet the day before the eight-city tour begins at the Knitting Factory in New York City.
While many musicians would feel uneasy about leaving everything to the last minute, the easygoing Herndon is typically unfazed. He's an expert at thinking on his seat.
"Last night I played with Beans from Antipop Consortium and Bobby Conn as a trio. We had a rehearsal on Thursday afternoon where I showed them the loops I'd made on a sampler/sequencer and they worked out their singing and rhyming parts. Friday night we did the show, and it went great!
"Takemura has sent us CDs of the music we'll be performing, so my job will be to use the drum kit to emulate his rhythmic structures. It'll just be a matter of being open, listening to what everyone else is doing while trying to be as musical as possible in a way that's empathetic and compatible."email@example.com