New Japanese Vibes (150) – 古川麦 Furukawa Baku – ‘Halo’

Intimate yet rhythmically pulsing, ‘Halo’ by California-born singer-songwriter 古川麦 Furukawa Baku transports the listener’s senses to a blissful musical oasis. The song shines an imposing quality that is unparalleled by others – its sensitive arrangement of various styles from folk to contemporary jazz, and soulful ambience kindled by each instrumental voice (particularly from the silken soprano sax solos). A good measure of a song’s universal appeal is how far the actual music (regardless of any language or cultural barriers) resonates with the listener’s emotions – ‘Halo’ is a must listen for both the Japanese audience and those beyond the ocean.

Other Info

  • Furukara Baku’s new album Seascape was released on March 21st. More info is available on his website.
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New Japanese Vibes (147) – さとうもか Sato Moka ‘Lukewarm’

Hailed as one to look out for from the next generation of artists, さとうもか Sato Moka enchants listeners with an endearing number ‘Lukewarm’, which is the lead track of her upcoming album of the same title, produced by fellow P-VINE artist 入江陽 Irie YouWhile a simple and charming ambience pervades through Sato’s honey-toned vocals and gently bopping beats, its sensitive facade belies the interesting sounds and colours that swirl throughout the track, particularly the kaleidoscopic synths that embellish the harmonies and love story narrative that is delicately spun by Sato.

Other Info

  • Sato Moka’s new album Lukewarm will be released on March 14th.

New Japanese Vibes (143) – FIVE NEW OLD ‘Sunshine’

Sunshine’ by Kobe-born trio FIVE NEW OLD is the perfect musical antidote for the winter chills and flu-riddled season. The band first made their mark on the music scene with their likeable and fresh sound that kindles a new lease of life for 80s old-school urban vibes with an infectious alt-rock drive. ‘Sunshine’ embodies their appealing summery and youthful sound, and surfs the waves with a gorgeous mix of seductive vocal melodies, bubbly riffs and enticing beats and harmonies.

Other Info

  • FIVE NEW OLD’s new album Too Much Is Never Enough will be released on January 31st, and will be available to download/stream.
  • Listen to more FIVE NEW OLD on my blog post here.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (140) – asuka ando あまいひとくち ‘Amai Hitokuchi’

The sweet mellow vibes of あまいひとくち ‘Amai Hitokuchi’ (‘Sweet Mouthful’) by singer asuka ando rings the relaxing feel-good atmosphere of my Christmas Day this year. The track tickles the heart and ears with its charming and fresh reggae-based groove (something we don’t often hear in today’s music in Japan) – its cradle-rocking beats and tropical guitar and piano harmonies sways one’s body left to right, while asuka ando’s honey-toned vocals embellishes the tender ambience of the song.

Other Info

  • asuka ando’s new album Amai Hitokuchi will be released on January 6th.

(c) Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (134) – Showmore ‘circus’

Jazz/hip-hop duo Showmore’s new track ‘circus’ captures the best of both past and present. On one hand, it winds back the clock a few decades with its nostalgic jazz backdrop and rhythmically bopping motor. On the other hand, the track has an undeniably contemporary vibe perfect for an evening soundtrack to listen to while roaming around the city’s alleyways. Complete with a music video featuring some of today’s exciting artists (including Kai Takahashi from LUCKY TAPES), the song celebrates the talent of today that we must embrace even more.

Other Info

  • Showmore’s new single circus will be released (digital) on November 1st.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (129) – LUCKY TAPES ‘Gravity’

Featuring in their new EP Virtual Gravity, indie pop band LUCKY TAPES return with a charming new number ‘Gravity’. The mellow brass chorus, genteel band sound, feathery melodies, honey-toned vocals and sweet riff that curtains every chorus orbit around the stereo field in a nostalgic musical galaxy. The song also provides the perfect city pop vibe as I write this post on the final night in New York, and reflect on what has been such an incredible trip going to Flushing Meadows (for some tennis) and roaming around the city that never sleeps.

Other Info

  • LUCKY TAPES’s new EP Virtual Gravity will be released on September 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi

New Japanese Vibes (127) – AKLO×JAY’ED ‘Different Man’

AKLO and JAY’ED wind the clock back in a vivid homage to the 80s/90s chilled out hip-hop and R&B sound world in ‘Different Man’. Featuring in their first EP as a collaborative act, the track pounds the listener’s eardrums in a seductive sonic ambience with swirling synths orbiting around the stereo field, JAY’ED’s sultry vocals reminiscent of the likes of Chris Brown, AKLO’s bold rapping that offsets the smooth vibes perfectly.

Other Info

  • AKLO×JAY’ED’s new EP Sorry…come back later will be released on September 6th.

© Isaku Takahashi