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Isolation, solitude, contemplation. These are the themes that discreetly weave their way through Disappearance, the first collaboration album between 12k’s Taylor Deupree and pioneering electronic composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto. The two began their musical dialogue in 2006 when Deupree was invited to remix a song from Sakamoto’s album Chasm. “World Citizen” was the song and it sparked continued collaboration as Deupree contributed to two of Sakamoto’s activist projects: Chain Music (http://www.sitesakamoto.com/chainmusic/) and KizunaWorld (http://kizunaworld.org/english/index.html) (as a trio with Sakamoto and Stephen Vitiello.) With the convenience of both artists living in New York they kept in touch, released music on 12k (Willits + Sakamoto’s Ocean Fire) and, in April of 2012, performed live together at John Zorn’s club The Stone. It was this concert that planted the seeds for Disappearance.

The initial tracks for Disappearance were recorded at Sakamoto’s studio in New York City during rehersals for the April concert. The two immediately entered the same sonic mindframe that lead to hours of concentrated, hushed music. Sakamoto’s piano playing, both traditional and prepared, emerged as perhaps some of his most beautifully sparse in recent years, letting the sound of the room and shuffle of chairs take an active roll in the recording. Only the most minimum of essential notes, accentuated by silences and the scraping of the piano’s strings, plays alongside Deupree’s nuanced passages, created with analogue synthesizers, strings, and found objects. These warm, human tones became the means of communication between the two artists who effortlessly created a musical language.

The five tracks that make up Disappearance are delicate and composed, however, they’re not all peacefulness and placidity. Micro-tuned edges, bursts of noise, percussive prepared piano and the warble of old reel-to-reel tape keep the mood grounded and warm, turning it inward and asking the listener to reflect on their path. “Curl To Me,” the album’s final piece, is highlighted by the sounds of Ichiko Aoba, a major up-and-coming singer/songwriter from Tokyo. Both Sakamoto and Deupree have recently worked with Aoba in Japan and wanted her presence felt on the album. Emphasizing the solitude and stillness of the recordings, Aoba provided both her voice and the almost disturbingly intimate sound of her own heartbeat.

Disappearance is a soundtrack for holding breaths. Sakamoto and Deupree lay down worn roads, but don’t leave signs, for a journey woven together by the quiet celebration of the fragility of nature and life.

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2007 saw the album debut of Moskitoo with 12k’s Drape (12k1041). Since then, Moskitoo (Tokyo’s Sanae Yamasaki) has been busy performing live, recording and releasing new work (including sound/voice for Japanese media/television and iOS apps) and expanding her talents as a visual artist in Japan. After six years of growth as an artist she presents her sophomore album, Mitosis.

Mitosis begins with “Wonder Particle,” a track that very much sums up Moskitoo’s intentions: to embrace the digital with not only a human, but a distinctly feminine touch. Wispy, layered vocals swim around rhythmic fragments and warm insect-like noises. The music is strange and otherwordly, perhaps the soundtrack to an evening stroll on a warm night in a bustling alien city. There are lights, swarms of sound, a myriad of conversations blended by a thousand different stories of passers-by always on the move.

The inspirations behind this second album are not far away from these ideas. Moskitoo herself was thinking of journeys, even ones on the cellular level. Mitosis, or the division of a cell into two identical sets of chromosomes, was a point of departure for Moskitoo as she explored the ideas of division, expansion, the human body, and small particles of matter. One can draw a correlation between these ideas and her music as it nervously wiggles it way through sounds both liquid and electronic.

Mitosis is a dreamy, playful and serious album that shows Moskitoo’s talents as a sound explorer and songwriter. It is at once both catchy and curious, a question that doesn’t always need an answer.