Michiko, the enigmatic London-based electro pop artist with roots in Australia, Japan, Germany and the UK, released her debut album „Daydreamer“ in 2006, with a smooth mix of lounge, electronic and pop. Her follow-up „No Place Like Home“ adds more elaborate flavours, upbeat sounds and a campy varnish to create a truly delightful vibe. She certainly stays the compelling „City Siren“ she introduced us to on her debut album but her well-written lyrics and her alluring vocals laid over a cool trip-hop feel make her ready to reach out to a much bigger audience. „No Place Like Home“ sounds like Sade and Goldfrapp hanging out with the producers of Naked Music to create a very contemporary love album. Or as Michiko would humbly put it: „It’s just the music I like and maybe you like, too.“
If you were to mix the blood of German and Japanese parents, raise the child in Sydney, give her piano lessons at the age of six, singing lessons from the age of sixteen, instill her with a sense of musical curiosity, move her to Germany to train her in studio sound and recording techniques, introduce her to jazz and then give her a plane ticket to London, what you would get is what Michiko is today. Although she does everything from songwriting to the mixing and mastering, she likes to keep a low profile.
„I make music using my laptop and a simple piece of software“, explains Michiko. „I use a mouse to programme the notes in manually and record my vocals with a shiny Rodes condensor microphone. There is no band, no studio, producer or glamorous lifestyle. It’s all literally homemade. I’m just working with the tools I have and know how to use well, in the precious time I can squeeze out of my life. If I get the chance I might upgrade my little electronic workshop a little, but if I can write songs people out there like well, then that’s all that matters.
Although Michiko is so modest in describing her amazing piece of work, her lyrics are more confident and straightforward. In „Pieces of the Heart“ she sings „I am the pieces of your heart / I am your brand-new start / I am the warmth on your skin / I am the joy in everything.“ An altogether different angle is taken in „Empty Room“ revealing her great sense of humour: „I love to dance in an empty room / I can dance badly and no one knows / It’s just me and music – yeah!“ Whereas her upfront approach resurfaces in „Everything About You“ (especially when she demands „I’ve got to know everything about you“), she turns into the sweetest lover in „Cherry Picking“ when she languishingly confides „It’ sunday afternoon and I’m waiting for you / going cherry-picking for love“.
From the sweet vibe of the opening „Morning Delight“ evoking images of a languorus early morning bed sprawl, the uptempo beats of the eponymous „No Place Like Home“, the bouncy tracks „Everything About You“ and „Right There“, the beguiling „Fly Away With You“, the hot dancefloor tune „Empty Room“ (equipped with a soaring flute and cool spoken word performance) to the introspective, percussive-driven ballad of „Learning To Love“ there is all you may wish for in an all-embracing, entertaining and inspiring love album. After the bitter-sweet and, in parts, naughty groove of „Midnight & Lime“, Lemongrass’ Playa Bossa remix of „No Place Like Home“ waits to be picked as the red apple of all your lovers’ paradise.
Well-measured crispy synths and gradually evolving vibrating bells are part of the overall, addictive vibe. Michiko’s well-conceived, enticingly phrased vocals laid over stimulating grooves will soon make her album a jigsaw piece of your life you no longer cannot not do without. No matter if you reminisce about your latest love affair, yearn for the love of your life, or ponder your next move in the game of love, you will find this album your perfect companion. Just listen and enjoy!
All tracks written, produced, arranged and performed by Michiko
CD Release: April 9th 2010
Digital release on iTunes: April 9th 2010
Other download stores: June 2010
Catalogue number: LGM 053-2
Label: Lemongrassmusic – LC 12644