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Yukari Fresh

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Yukari Fresh is the stage name under which Japanese "Shibuya-kei" artist Takasaki Yukari performs. Sharing a quirky and sometimes coquettish attitude with late-'90s contemporaries such as Kahimi Karie and Minekawa Takako, she also has a pick-and-mix approach to musical genres such as house, French pop, jazz, bossa nova, and lounge music that puts her music loosely in the same ballpark as Cornelius, Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Capsule. From the beginning, Yukari Fresh has been associated with Tokyo's fashionable Escalator Records, starting out as a member of '90s indie band Snapshot and later going solo, releasing her debut album Yukari's Perfect in 1997. The album, recorded with the help of guest musicians Kaji Hideki and the Genbeat, brought her to the wider attention of the Tokyo indie scene as well as German label Bungalow Records. In 1998 she released the split 7" "Super Disco 45" with German band Stereo Total and was invited to contribute to the Sushi 4004 "Shibuya-kei" compilation, both on Bungalow. 1999's New Year's Fresh saw Yukari expounding on her love of European, particularly English, football, with the tracks "Michael Owen" and "Paul Scholes," and 2000's Cityrama, recorded in Tokyo, Kyoto, Berlin, Dortmund, Paris, St. Tropez, Honolulu, London, Bristol, and Prague, saw her collaborating with different international artists on each track. The mini-album Erik and the full-length release Trefoil's Hat followed in 2001 and 2003 respectively, after which she reinvented herself as Yukari Rotten, releasing the electro-punk album Not Dead in 2004. In 2005, Yukari Fresh was herself again, a fact she underscored by entitling her next album Me. Again Yukari indulged her penchant for collaborations, this time including contributions from, among others, Chicks on Speed. 2008's grrrl, summer cape kid, etc. showed further development of her eccentric and eclectic musical philosophy, mixing rock, pop, and electronic sounds with the same playful touch that has consistently characterized her work to date. ~ Ian Martin

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