Madoka Ogitani’s EP Take A Walk is a bit on the precious side, with its folk music influences, playful inclusion of toy piano, and its bright springy tone, including chirpy nature sounds. It suffers a little bit from too much of the tinny, sharp notes from the toys. Which is a shame, because the core of what’s here is great acoustic work on piano and guitar. It’s clean, richer than its simplicity would suggest, and a bit uplifting. At under 20 minutes long, there shouldn’t be time for the more sugary aspects to make you tired of them, but for me they tend to get in the way of the good stuff. The first two tracks, “Wind” and “Humming,” share a central theme—so much so that I went back in to re-listen to see if this is one of those releases where the artist just twists a central conceit over and over and calls it a day. It’s not, as far as I can tell, and the difference between these two tracks is just enough to make the idea work. Well, until the tinny stuff comes in. “Wind” begins primarily as a duet between guitar and piano. Other elements lace in lightly to round it out. “Humming” ups the precious ante by giving the main duties over to the toy instruments. From there it tends to be more of the same: good acoustic music just alike enough to make you wonder if you just heard it, intruded upon by too much cute.
Take A Walk will work better tucked into a deep shuffle than it does as a straight-on listen. The core idea, as noted, is solid and Ogitani’s playing is precise and pleasant. In the times when I’ve had my review queue on shuffle, it arrives into the mix as a shiny and happy thing, and that brightness is welcome. But there’s too much sameness of sound and over-the-top precious play stuffed into so tight of a space. I like Take A Walk, I just need it spread out more. Have a listen and decide.
Available from La Bél Netlabel.