Tokyo band Ovall’s spiritual jazz/hip-hop sound treads between the present and past. The trio looks back to tradition for creative juices, but is equally akin to the fresh and forward-thinking outlook that is a prerequisite for any modern musician or band.

‘Feverish Imagination’ from their 2011 EP Heart Fever is a slick fusion of classic hip-hop, soul, funk and contemporary jazz, dictated by voltage-driven guitar solos, dazzling jazz/soul piano chords and licks, punchy drum beats, mellow Rhodes harmonies and shimmering synths. It’s the ideal soundtrack fit for a warm evening at the beach enriched by a bright orange sunset.

Equally seductive are tracks ‘Take U to Somewhere’ and ‘I Need Your Music feat. Hanah’, both featured in their debut album DON’T CARE WHO KNOWS THAT. Both tracks meander through sumptuous yet spiritual nu-jazz vibes coaxed by twinkling electric piano riffs tinged with radiant effects, groovy electric guitar licks, vintage organ textures, foot-tapping rhythms and alluring, hazy vocal melodies that gently slip through the listener’s senses to wind their minds down. From the first chord, one knows that Ovall will take listeners through a magical journey like no other.

Ovall’s ability to resonate the universal appeal of jazz and hip-hop is also captured in tunes like ‘mistakes’ from their album DAWN. Describing their music as “Absolute Mixture Music”, the trio paints a rich fusion of styles and sounds ranging from laser-coloured synths, shimmering electric piano and vintage organ licks that ring the 70s and 80s back to life, jazzy bass lines, catchy drums and sensual vocals.

Other Listening:

  • Hold You feat. Yu Sakai
  • The Skin I’m In feat. Wayne and Kenn Starr

© Isaku Takahashi