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Shojo Toshi+

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The reissue of Noriko Tujiko's second album, Shojo Toshi, which brought her to wider attention back in 2001, may seem a bit soon after only five years, but Mego do a nice job in providing enough extras for an original purchaser to consider it — as for newcomers, it's even more of a treat than before. Tujiko's moody, elegant electronics from the original release are as captivating as before, with the remastering courtesy of Pluramon's Marcus Schmickler a nice but not notably different touch. Hearing things like the distanced vocals on "White Film" over sad, gentle keyboards and the mournful strings on "Machi No Kakera" over clattering percussion suggests a world where the Aphex Twin at his most childlike and Laurie Anderson at her most melancholic meet and re-combine wildly. Besides new artwork, the real difference here lies in the inclusion of five tracks from the EP I Forgot the Title, which was released the following year after Shojo first appeared. While much is similar to the earlier work, there's more directness in songs like "Anti Newton" which, while hardly Tujiko-goes-pop, is still much more conventional sounding than everything on the original album. It's still a striking song, though — especially its extended instrumental break, led by a simple but dramatic keyboard part — and the EP's other tracks are equally noteworthy. The sense of young whimsy mixed with downbeat undertones is continued on "Pop Skirt" — which is one of the most unusual matchings of title and sound ever — and "I Love You," which is even more atypical! "Robot Hero," meanwhile, concludes the reissue as a whole with an example of how the detailed, careful sound of her studio work can still carry over live — her voice has rougher catches in it at points but otherwise it's as striking a blend as ever.

Shojo Toshi+, Tujiko Noriko
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