BACKTRACKING WITH HARUKA NAKAMURA'S TWILIGHT
Tokyo, Japan-based composer Haruka Nakamura (b. 1982) has been creating serenading electro-acoustic music since 2006, and has issued split (Afterglow with Akira Kosemura on Schole in 2007) and solo recordings (2008's Grace) in the years since. The very title of his latest full-length release, Twilight, suggests that it will assume its rightful place within the pastoral electro-acoustic tradition one often associates with Schole and Kitchen. releases, but, in actual fact, the new recording gravitates to a surprising degree in the direction of ECM-styled piano jazz. We asked Nakamura if he'd be willing to give us some background on the new recording's compositions and much to our delight he graciously complied.
1. “Evening Prayer”:
During the time that “Evening Prayer” was created from improvisation, the sun outside was slowly descending and floating into the far distance. When the track was born, I decided that it should be the beginning of the album. ARAKI Shin (tenor & soprano saxophone and flute) and rienemoto (violin) contributed splendid performances to the piece.
2. “Harmonie du soir”:
Listen in this song to ARAKI Shin's splendid horn arrangements. The harmonies of his pipes have a sublime impact on the song.
I thought this track “Distance” was truly the most natural piece that emerged from that day of recording.
4. “By the Window”:
The melody for this track “By the Window” is one which I have played since I was young. In this album, it is something very precious to me to present a melody that I composed at that time.
The piano and drums (by isaosaito) for the album were recorded first. When I sent the recordings to the rest of the session musicians, I left it entirely up to them, and allowed them to choose freely which song they wanted to work on and what kind of musical approach they wished to use. “Memoria” became a piece tailor-made for akirauchida's soprano saxophone, and the beautiful strains of his saxophone give this track enormous presence.
6. “On the Verandah”:
Not long after I was doing a field recording of crickets on my verandah, rain began to fall, which lead to the next track “Faraway.” Though deceptively simple sounding, it took seven layers of horn to create this harmony. ARAKI Shin's splendid horn arrangements can be thoroughly enjoyed in this track.
This is an important piece that was composed several years ago. During my first live performance in Tokyo in 2007, this is the first song I played in the set. I reunited the previous members of that live performance Toshiaki Hamada (bass) and Ryodo Yamamoto (piano) to play it again for this version, and in addition ARAKI Shin was roped in for a saxophone performance. It brings back faraway memories of that first performance, which was held at a venue called SuperDeluxe.
Similar to “Memoria,” akirauchida's saxophone stands out on this track.
isaosaito (drums) and I performed this track entirely by improvisation. He listened sensitively to the tone of the song while contributing his percussion. “Dialogo" is one of my personal favourites of all his drum preformances. In addition, ARAKI shin once again added beautiful harmonies.
10. “Scenery With Music”:
This track marks the album's approach to the end, and the melody of rienemoto's violin calmly leads to the concluding tracks.
When April Lee and Ricks Ang of aspidistrafly visited Japan, we spent a lot of time as friends. We recorded a session of “Twilight” in my room using guitar and voice, and I officially started working on the song on my own when they returned. Around the many memories we shared together, this song became a very important song to us. Had we not known each other, this album might not have been created, hence from the beginning I decided that April should sing the title track. Having met them and having done several collaborations in the past, I am proud that I could release this album on their label. More than anything, I value that I was able to build an important friendship with them.
12. “Curtain Call”:
The story of “Curtain Call” greets the closing of the album. After having performed with many other musicians, the album quietly draws to an end with a two-person performance between me and isaosaito.
13. “The Light”:
I wrote this song at the end, after all the other tracks had been completed. A flicker of hope gently lights up as Janis Crunch's lullaby-like voice closes the day, akin to a ray of light in the distance.