May 1, 2009

LABEL PROFILE: Childisc Records & Moonlit Records, Japan

Childisc Records (and sub-label Moonlit) was started by Nobukazu Takemura in Kyoto, Japan and released over 80 CDs and records between 1997 and 2007. The label features vibrant electronic and acoustic music centered around a theme of child-like wonder and playfulness. The genres covered include experimental, avant garde, neo classical, IDM, ambient, noise, and hybrids hard to pin down. The vast majority of Childisc releases were only available in Japan, and many have gone out of print. Some of the releases were released domestically on labels such as Thrill Jockey, Bubble Core, Drag City sub-label Moikai and others, and are still available for mailorder. Many of the artists are still active on other labels. I was introduced to Childisc during a year in college spent in Central Japan. I was able to see Nobukazu Takemura and Aki Tsuyuko perform a surround-sound + video concert, and found many Childisc releases at Jet Set Records in Kyoto. The general aesthetic of the releases builds on the sound explored on Takemura's essential “Child And Magic” album from '97. The eight volume Childisc compilation series is probably the best place to start to get a sense of the artists' styles. Recent releases by Lullatone and Slowly Minute are especially pleasant, organic ambient/acoustic affairs. A long-time favorite is Aki Tsuyuko's “Ongaku Shitsu” from '99, a collection of surreal and soothing keyboard improvisations that explore a very unique sonic space. Tsuyuko recently updated her website with a new CDR release available for mailorder entitled “Natsu No Zenbu.” It is a collaboration between her and Ippei Matsui, with guest appearance by Yasushi Yoshida of Suspiria. It is available for 1350yen (includes shipping to USA) via Paypal from It is a hand-made limited edition release directly from the artists, buy one! Strangely, both the Childisc and Aki Tsuyuko websites are presently offline.