A thread for Mico aka Apache 61 aka Mieko Shimizu, the obscure but talented UK-based Japanese electronic musician

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I've been listening to Mico's music almost nonstop recently, and I feel I should share it here, because seems she's not really well known at all, even though she deserves to be...

I first came across her Apache 61 drum'n'bass project on the "Female of the Species" comp from 1999. Apache 61 is artsy, jittery kind of drum'n'bass, kinda like Squarepusher, but without the worst drill'n'bass excesses. You can listen to couple of those tracks on the Apache 61's [https://myspace.com/apache61/music/songs]Myspace[/url].

Then later on in the 00s she resurfaced, under the Mico name, on Monika's "4 Women No Cry" comp, with 3 excellent tracks of freaky, bass-heavy experimental electro. Here's one of them:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7JKFCxD7BM

But at the same time she was also working with David Howe (of Touch & Go fame, he's the guy behind "Would You...?") on his Dreamcatcher project, they released an album in 2006 that's very different from her solo material, it's dreamy new age dance pop or something, still very good:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDAtAj4iyCI

Her own solo album from the same year has a few of the same songs as the Dreamcatcher album, but the sound is more electronic, though still poppier than her earlier music:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeUofw8kuQo

Tuomas, Monday, 19 January 2015 20:14 (four years ago) link

Her next solo album came out in 2012, and it has more trad instruments like strings, though the compositions are still quite adventurous:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGAHcWBXYxQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSNR91VOHh0

I read somewhere that she's also composed several anime soundtracks, which I guess would explain the cinematic sound on many of her tunes, though I have no idea which animes she's actually worked for.

Tuomas, Monday, 19 January 2015 20:17 (four years ago) link

And before Apache 61 she was in a group called Mekong Zoo, which released one album in 1995... That one's also quite good, an odd mixture of ambient and jazz and moodz:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yvi20eDI0wg

Tuomas, Monday, 19 January 2015 23:06 (four years ago) link

ten months pass...

Bump. Still loving her music, still sad that I seem to be the only one who does.

Tuomas, Tuesday, 24 November 2015 10:51 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

friend of mine shared some of this guy's stuff with me today. seriously blowing me away.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKY38Nx8dSo

circa1916, Friday, 12 February 2016 17:51 (three years ago) link

oh! did not realize Mieko Shimizu was a woman. sry.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKY38Nx8dSo

circa1916, Friday, 12 February 2016 17:52 (three years ago) link

ok Yasuaki Shimizu and Mieko Shimiz are different people, i have had too much coffee today

circa1916, Friday, 12 February 2016 17:57 (three years ago) link

Yes, I think Mieko Shimizu is his daughter? But I've liked the Yasuaki stuff that I've heard too, his saxophone versions of Bach's cello suites are pretty dope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5bB7s4kBbI

Tuomas, Friday, 12 February 2016 18:01 (three years ago) link

Though I have to say I don't much like that synth pop stuff he's done, I've tried to listen to it over Youtube a few times, but it's just too corny-sounding to me.

Tuomas, Friday, 12 February 2016 18:08 (three years ago) link

I'm not sure whether Mieko is Yasuaki's daughter, but I've always assumed so because she has some writing credits on his albums, like this one:

https://www.discogs.com/Yasuaki-Shimizu-Aduna/release/3267370

Tuomas, Friday, 12 February 2016 18:36 (three years ago) link

Here's some jazzier stuff by Yasuaki & the Saxophonettes, it's really dope! The whole Pentatonica album is well worth checking out if you're into this kind of sax sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H39OEWdCbFg

Tuomas, Friday, 12 February 2016 18:40 (three years ago) link

I eventually found out that Mieko Shmizu is not Yasuaki's daughter but his sister. I also acquired that "Aduna" album I linked to above, and it's quite fun! It's kinda of a Japanese version of those 80s "world beat" fusion albums, like Mandingo or Herbie Hancock's "Sound-System". So you have Wasis Diop from Senegal playing the guitar and singing some folksy vocals, Yasuaki bringing in a Japanese/jazz flavour with his sax and keyboards and rather gruff voice, Mieko adding some pop flavour with her singing, etc. Really a bit of a weird mess, but quite enjoyable! And it has the best cover of Harry Belafonte's "Banana Boat Song" that I've ever come across, almost on par with the original.

Tuomas, Monday, 22 February 2016 19:23 (three years ago) link

Here's a video/clip of "Come Tomorrow" from it, it's about as odd as the entire album!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDpBYrC5rY

Tuomas, Monday, 22 February 2016 19:26 (three years ago) link

two years pass...

According to her Facebook page she has a new album out this spring after a 6 year break, I'm really looking forward to it, since both Phenomena of the Mind and My Tentacles were quite good.

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2019 14:10 (six months ago) link

Dunno what happened to the links uphtread, but here's a couple of videos from those two albums:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSNR91VOHh0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeUofw8kuQo

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2019 14:12 (six months ago) link

And here's some Apache 61:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5wXaYZ4bw

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2019 14:22 (six months ago) link

Oh, that's weird, I couldn't see the YouTube links upthread on the computer, but I can see them now on my tablet. Sorry about posting them twice!

Tuomas, Monday, 11 February 2019 14:56 (six months ago) link


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