Soul and funk music in Japan hasn’t been picked up that much in my blog, until another session surfing the Internet led me to the discovery of indie/soul pop band Lucky Tapes, led by Kai Takahashi.

The music of Lucky Tapes cannot get more seductive than ‘Moon’. This is one of their most recent tracks, comforting the listener with a soft and mellow groove rich in tranquil electric piano textures, jazzy riffs and smooth beats. Some elements of a Jamie Woon-esque neo-soul vibe ripple through the first half, until a sumptuous instrumental and final chorus section full of opulent string harmonies, bright brass piston chords and gorgeous harmonic progressions, bringing traces of the golden era of soul and motown sounds. If one thought the song wasn’t finished, a Santana-­like electric guitar solo raises the roof for the final time.

On the other hand, ‘Touch!’ is a much more buoyant affair. Groovy bass lines and drum rhythms, jazzy piano and brass hooks, jangling guitar strums, and ample syncopation lend a vibrant funk and pop sensation reminiscent of icons such as Jackson 5. Also, instead of unleashing an energetic vocal power, Lucky Tapes offsets this with a dainty falsetto unison vocal line, giving freshness and gently alluring the listeners to groove along with the band.

For anyone curating a soundtrack perfect for the late weekend morning, ‘In Paris’ is worth including in your playlist. This track wanders through a cool and sweet contemporary vibe, knitting together hip-hop, neo-soul and funk ideas with plenty of glistening electric piano and synth licks, a vivid electric guitar solo, a funky bass line, gentle yet seductive drumbeat and the silky, feathery vocals that soothe on the listener’s palette.

The rich musical ideas and soulful sound world of Lucky Tapes is worthy of attracting more excitement and interest from the Japanese audience, and perhaps they are essential for inspiring others to embrace the wonderful world of jazz, soul and funk in the country.

Other Listening:

  • Peace and Magic
  • Friday Night
  • Gun

© Isaku Takahashi