SUNDAY

Although Sign appears under Nobukazu Takemura’s own name rather than the Child’s View tag he used for solo projects in the ’90s, the Japanese laptop electronicist’s recent Thrill Jockey four-cut disc is rife with playfulness. With a vocodered English-language melody and antiphonal chirps that wouldn’t sound out of place on Computer World, the title track sounds like what was playing at the club that breezy night when Tinky Winky took your fax machine out on their first date. (Before the night was through, the heartless little tramp ended up with R2-D2, but that’s neither here nor there.) “COGWHEEL” is more minimal and beat-heavy yet still light and twinkly enough to sound entirely appropriate at the desktop disco that is my stock-speakered old iMac. But even Hello Kitty might sit out the album-closing “Meteor,” whose adorable melange of Penguin Cafe Orchestra-style melodica lines, Aphex-y rhythmic stammering, and playroom xylophony threatens to cloy. If slightly uneven, all the tracks are stylistically very much of a piece, but more than half of Sign is given over to “Souvenir in Chicago,” recorded on a late 1999 outing with Bundy K. Brown, Douglas McCombs, and John McEntire. After roughly 15 minutes of Reichian post-rockery, the Chicagoans pack out their trash, leaving Takemura to swat a few sonic gnats alone. Though at first it seems pointless, even this pastime develops rules of its own; as the clock nears the 35-minute mark, I find myself sorry the game has to end. Find out which Takemura will show up to play tonight, when he plays with Plaid and Mira Calix at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $12. (202) 667-7960. (Glenn Dixon)