Shugo Tokumaru - Night Piece
Record Label: music related
Release Date: February 7, 2005
Shugo Tokumaru makes it difficult for music critics clad with iron-hard toughness. Take Tokumaru's softhearted, almost mawkish, vocals and his cutesy knack for making music out of little toys and knick-knacks, and even the most stalwart of the critics would fall head over heels towards him. Three albums in and loads of Pitchfork Media help, Tokumaru's name is now internationally known, and to a fault, deservingly so.
Night Piece, his 2005 debut, is evocative of the album namesake. It is a fantasy dreamt by a young man and his lone guitar, rocking on a chair in a clockwork, yet natural, motion. Placed on a vista facing a forest, it oscillates quietly to the sounds of chirping crickets at night. The environment slowly breaks into a blur as he drifts into sleep. A path opens up in the middle, as everything starts to clear up. The path is a short one, the end marred by lens flare. The sky still indicates night, but the forest surrounding the path is warmly illuminated.
The first few steps are unassuming, but the light encourages you forward and your muscles break tension. The beauty of the greenery around you entices you for short passages from time to time, each moment impressing you in a different manner, in spite of being the same thing. As you inch closer to the light, it encapsulates you. It stays like this for a considerable amount of time, and it almost seems like the night is over.
The guitar accidentally drops off the young man's lap, and the clanging sound of wood against wood roused the young man from his nap. It still truly is night. The forest ceases to beckon any further, the moon shining dimly against it, and the knick-knack sounds that once filled the trees have returned to cricket noises. The boy sighs as he picks his guitar back up and writes songs about it.
A night piece is a musical composition inspired by the night. Coupled with naturalistic vibes, Tokumaru has created a dreamscape that can breathe life into people. Dreamy and completely ordinary, it is the skittish saunter of his arrangement skills, devious guitar strength, and composition prowess that allows Night Piece, like a siesta, to slowly but surely trip you into a trance.
The template for the songs rarely stray away from a dreamy acoustic norm, given exception of the near-shoegaze "Latern on the Water" (pardon his English) and "Paparazzi," a minute of falsetto guitar bliss, which is the minuscule climax of the album.
But a dreary night can be interesting for only so long.