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New Month, New Stuff!

Hello all! Well, February has finally come and with it some pretty hefty snowstorms! On the plus side it finally feels like winter here in Sapporo, and just in time for the Snow Festival too! On the down side it was really hard to walk to work for a few days.

Snow in Sapporo
Not a perspective trick. That pile of snow is waaay taller than that garage.

The last two weeks have been really exciting for me, a lot of new releases, a new series, and a ton of composing done. So for today’s blog I thought I’d fill you in on everything that’s come out, and give a little extra info about it all!

Before I get into all that though, I just wanted to take a moment and share this incredible Meiji chocolate wrapper art. I found these in my local supermarket and I think they’re absolutely adorable. There are a bunch of different designs, but they all have this simple eye-catching art style.

So first up, let’s talk about my new series!

I listen to a lot of music, and a large amount of it is either local or from artists only popular here in Japan. I would love to be able to share some of the best stuff I find with all of you around the world, because who doesn’t love good music? So I’m starting up a new monthly series on my website where I’ll introduce music and artists I think are exceptionally inspiring or talented. Each month I’ll select three or four artists or albums that I’ve found, and give you a little info about them as well as my recommended tracks. There will also be a companion Spotify playlist with a selection of songs from that month’s list, so you can listen along with me!

Since this is the first entry I’ve starting off by introducing four artists who dominated my headphones in 2019.

You can find the full entry on my website here.
And the Spotify playlist here.

If you don’t want to miss out on an update, there’s an mailing list sign-up at the bottom of the page. I’ll be sending out a simple message on the first of every month with a link to the new list and the playlist!
(Side note: This is the first time I’ve done a playlist for international listeners, so please let me know if you have trouble listening to any of the songs.)

So many new releases!

The last two weeks have also seen THREE new releases for projects I’m a part of. I’m sure you’ve seen some posts on SNS about them, but I’ll give you the rundown just in case you missed any!

First up was my single 破れ目 or Tear (as in: tearin’ up my heart).
This is an experimental electronic track that was actually made about ten years ago. I found the file on my PC while doing some organizing and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. When I wrote it I remember not being quite as happy with it, but I suppose being away from it gave me new ears. Sadly, I could only find the audio file so I couldn’t go back and polish anything up, but I think it stands well as it is. I hope you all like it too!

Next up, my band Youryokutai Club released a single as well.
The track, ノライヌ (Norainu), is actually one of our oldest songs and an older version was originally released back in 2014. However, we were all pretty unhappy with our playing on that record and so we took it offline as soon as we could. Now it’s gone forever…
This new version is just a demo from a recording project we did back in 2016, where we re-recorded the tune and even went through a few different mixes. While that particular project didn’t lead to a final release, we are still really happy with how this track came out so we decided to release it to kick off the new year. The artwork is by our singer Ayumi, and was drawn on a napkin during our meeting last month. I think it’s delightful.

The last release is a full album from a band I’ve been supporting on drums for the past four years, fractal from sleepy.ab.
The band has been around since 1999, so they started when I was 12(!), and this is their 9th studio album. In the past few years we’ve played big summer festivals, been to Taiwan, and played events all over Japan together. So I was honored to be asked to record drums for eight tracks on this album, and even more honored when they gave me an extreme amount of creative freedom during the recording. I couldn’t be happier with the result, it’s an incredible album and I really really hope you’ll give it a listen. (Particularly tracks 4 and 12!)

So that about wraps up my last two weeks. A lot of releases and a lot web tinkering to get the word out. And a lot of chocolate eating.

I’ve been working on another project that I’m super excited to share with you all. It’s a bit too early to talk about yet, but hopefully soon…maybe even in my next blog? Speaking of which, next week I’ll be sharing some fun podcasts that I’ve been binge listening lately and I’ll be talking about upcoming tours!

Stay creative – E

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