It was five years ago when Tujiko Noriko originally released her second album on the Mego imprint, a label famous for its many laptop-oriented artists. The album, Shojo Toji, received mixed reviews. It’s not surprising; Tujiko is a tremendously eccentric artist who writes bizarre lo-fi bedroom electronic ditties while channeling Yoko Ono and Bjork in equal measures. It’s not the type of record you can listen to twice and get a great grasp on what it is you’re experiencing. It’s not quite IDM, though: It’s a different type of pop music, filtered through the chaos of Tokyo’s downtown streets, with its flashing billboards, and hectic pedestrian traffic. And five years later, this reissue serves as a gentle reminder of Tujiko’s incredible talent.
Having since created a masterpiece with last year’s 28, it’s easier to see what made Shojo Toji great: the clever electronic glitches; the heady, dreamy, and utterly bizarre vocal deliveries; the cute yet melancholic little melodies. This reissue includes new artwork and five bonus cuts, originally released in 2002 as I Forgot the Title, a rare twelve-inch EP. And the additional material — including “Anti Newton,” which sounds like Underworld in its mellower moments, takes the disc from really good to great.
Tujiko went on to perfect her sound in later records, such as 2005’s Blurred in My Mirror and the aforementioned 28. But Shojo Toji showcases a twenty-three-year-old singer finding her feet, baring some scars, and creating some very interesting pop. Reissues such as this one serve to bring perfectly good, dusty relics into the light.