Review Summary: Tentenko XXV: XIXTentenko is an ex-idol freelance artist who runs her own label and has released an extensive range of experimental pop and techno EPs. This review is part of an ongoing series dedicated to exploring her discography. For a point of reference and orientation to her discography as a whole, please see the first instalment in the series, the review for Good Bye, Good Girl.
is a CD-R by the freelance queen of nursery techno and overlady of Tenten Records, Tentenko. I know
, right? As you can see overhead, it is not, by my maths, her 19th release. However, if you discount some combination of most (but not all of) the Toys Factory-released Kogyo Seihin
and the single Houkago Symphony
, her debut single Good Bye, Good Girl
, her DJ mix Conduct of Human Beings
, her live album Tentenko no Otanoshimi Kai
, her Hijoukaidan collaboration Angel Noise
and her original-and-remix album original and remix
, this total evens out as nineteen. (Okay I just checked her Bandcamp page, and this is confirmed). Neat. Cheers to nineteen consecutive months of Tentenko CD-Rs.
This release adopted the piecemeal approach of recent-is Tenten Records CD-Rs such as Living In The Box (Coin Locker)
and Diamond no Sasayaki
, tackling a range of styles within her comfort zone without doing many of them particularly well. Opener “Koala” is a cute aimless noise piece that would probably be a decent warm-up to literally anything other than the useless second track “Rokisonin”, a blip bloopy waste of time that will consume four entire minutes of your life in the same way that the heat death of the universe will eventually consume us all. Don’t give it the chance. Much more important than the music is my total failure to transliterate the title from katakana: “Low Key Sonin”? “Rocky So Neen”? What the hell. A little help would be appreciated. What else have we got on the tracklist? Hmm. “You are Special.” is another minimal bloopfest that sounds like refrigerated stir craziness served with stale cabbage. The kick drum needs more reverb. “New Bon Odon“ is a bit of a throwaway, but it gets major bonus points for its brevity and its cool back-and-forth between its melody line and its percussion. Hardly a classic of the Tentenkoverse, but a promising development.
Honestly, most of these tracks make me question whether Tentenko is really getting any better or just evening out in the boringest of superboring plateau, unchartered because why bother? I feel that she could churn out CD-Rs like this in her sleep and I could review them in mine without either of us ever upping our batting averages. Stalemate! However, as often happens at points like these in the scheme of, uh, history, Tentenko teases just enough gems to keep things semi-interesting. “37.3℃” and “OKUSURI” are solid techno outings that reinforce the aimless glumness she captures quite well (seriously!) in this style. Hearing an artist as prone to goofballing as Tentenko successfully playing this style straight is always a delight, and “OKUSURI” in particular sits at the top of the pack amongst her output in this vein. It gets extra points for its seamless incorporation of flickering noise and glitch elements, something shared by the closer “where is my house.” This track is hilarious and uncomfortably entertaining, a Minecraft halloween extravaganza that sees Tentenko mumble the title lyric in her only vocal appearance on the album while feedback feeds back and a beat almost starts. It’s dreadful, and I love it.
The chances of Nineteen
changing anyone’s mind about Tentenko are probably zero, and if you, like me, are harbouring doubts that consuming the entirety of her output is remotely worthwhile, these are unlikely to be assuaged here. I guess the best that can be said is that when this CD-R delivers, it does so to a higher standard than usual? Eh. It’s a Tentenko release.