Ichiko Aoba shares new live video “Porcelain (Live at Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Tokyo, 2021)”
New album “Windswept Adan” out in the EU, UK & US - 3rd December on 2xLP via Ba Da Bing Records
EU + UK tour to take place Oct / Nov 2021
Press shot – Credit: Kodai Kobayashi（小林光大) – Download HERE
Today, rising Japanese singer, guitarist and composer Ichiko Aoba has shared a new live video of her recent single “Porcelain”. The song is taken from her album “Windswept Adan”, which is set for its first physical release on 3rd December. Until now Aoba’s albums have only been available as expensive Japanese imports but, in December, New York Label Ba Da Bing will release “Windswept Adan” in North America and Europe, and the UK, as a deluxe packaged 2xLP set for the first time. Aoba’s international popularity has grown in recent years, although she’s a new name to most in the west, her releases have seen her gain cult recognition and early critical acclaim from a number of influential critics, earning a 9/10 review from Anthony Fantano on The Needle Drop, as well as a #2 Best Album of 2020 spot on Rate Your Music and #5 on Album Of The Year’s 2020 Best Albums By User Score. In addition to her early plaudits, Ichiko Aoba’s collaborative accomplishments are unquestionable. Her music featured prominently in the soundtrack to the 2019 video game The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening. She has collaborated with Japanese legend Ryuichi Sakamoto and American sound artist Taylor Deupree; with Sakamoto’s Yellow Magic Orchestra colleague Haruomi Hosono; with Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco (they duetted on a song for a whisky advert); and with Canadian violinist Owen Pallett, who has cited her as an inspiration, comparing her compositions to those of Burt Bacharach (“I’ve never been so blindsided by a musician as I was by Ichiko Aoba”). Ichiko Aoba’s work gained greater exposure in the past year as the need for comfort grew while we sequestered in solitude. She has a rare musical gift that is matched only by her ability to hone it into meticulous craft. Her music embraces and elevates alone time to a generous and tranquil place. In it, listeners are invited to feel a sense of consolation and possibility – a sensation which is mirrored in her live performances The new live video is taken from a concert Aoba played at Bunkamura Orchard Hall in Tokyo this June, which saw her perform with the musicians who performed across the album, and includes a full string section, percussionists, and more. The mesmerising performance perfectly exemplifies the incredibly expansive scope of Aoba’s orchestral folk compositions, her performances, and her ability to create richly textured musical worlds. WATCH “Porcelain (Live at Bunkamura Orchard Hall, Tokyo, 2021)” HERE:
The video also comes ahead of an extensive run of EU / UK tour dates, including a sold out London date at King’s Place as part of London Jazz Festival on 17th Nov, and a newly announced Rough Trade in-store on the 18th. She will also appear at festivals such as Le Guess Who? in the Netherlands and InlanDimensions in Poland. Full live dates are as follows: OCTOBER 19 Warsaw, InlanDimensions 2021, PL 22 Kraków, Klub RE, PL 23 Prague, Punctum, CZ 27 Berlin, Arkaoda, DE 28 Jena, TRAFO, DE 29 Hamburg, Thalia Theatre, DE 30 Stuttgart, About POP music summit, DE NOVEMBER 02 Brussels, Botanique Rotonde, BE 03 Luxembourg, Rotondes, LUX 05 Lausanne, Cinema CityClub, CH 06 Lyon, Le Farmer, FR 07 Lille, La Malterie, FR 08 Paris, Petit Bain, FR 09 Copenhagen, ALICE, DK 11 Amsterdam, s105, NL 12 Utrecht, Le Guess Who? Festival, NL 13 Antwerp, Het Bos, BE 14 Southampton, MAST, GB 15 Bristol, Strange Brew, GB 16 Manchester, Burgess Foundation, GB 17 London, Kings Place, GB (SOLD OUT) 18 London, Rough Trade East (Instore Show), GB 19 Cork, Coughlans, IE 20 Dublin, The Workman's Cellar, IE Tickets Available HERE Guestlist and in-person promo available upon request.
“Windswept Adan” is the seventh studio album from Ichiko Aoba. It comes as she celebrates her 10th anniversary as an artist and is easily her most complex and rewarding work of her career. The album is a singer-songwriter album, a concept album, a piece of chamber music, and a contemporary orchestral work. It is heavily influenced by jazz, by folk and by impressionistic classical music. It is a soundtrack to an imaginary film; it is an album that tells a story; it is a piece of fantasy science fiction set to music; it is a sonic voyage through the East China Sea.
“It is written as the soundtrack to a fictitious movie,” says Aoba. “It is a story about a girl who goes from the fictional Kirinaki Island – an island inhabited by a tribe of inbred families – to Adan Island. Adan has no language. The girl meets the creatures that live on that island and traces the roots of her life while gifting shells to the natives of Adan Island.” Where Aoba’s previous songs have been open to interpretation, she wants “Windswept Adan” to tell a very specific story. “We wanted the music to express things like the temperature flowing in the story, the girl’s facial expression, and the smell of the sea breeze,” she says. “It was like a piece of acting for me. I think I’ve become able to think more three-dimensionally about works and stages.” Aoba’s vantage point constantly changes point-of-view throughout the album. “The lyrics shift from the perspective of the girl who is the main character, to the perspective of the plants that live on the island, to a bundle of lives that straddle space and time.” The album is arranged in chronological order, telling the story of the girl’s journey between islands. Opener “Prologue” places the listener squarely on the coral archipelago, with bells, birds and a field recording of the sea that Aoba made herself on the Honohoshi coast of Amami Oshima. The lyrics of “Pilgrimage” features invented words. “I wrote it in the hope that it will become the song that connects the world with our language and the island without language that the girl has been exiled to.” The beautifully orchestrated “Porcelain” – the album’s lead single – takes us further into the coral islands; “Easter Lily” hits us with a heartbreaking chord sequence; by the impressionistic, piano-led ambient composition “Parfum d’etoiles” the vocals are virtually wordless, buried deep in the mix. The poetic imagery is strong on “Sagu Palm’s Song”: “Where to go in this storm?” she sings, in a tightly harmonised, breakthy whisper. “To another dimension, reflected in the water/if I jump, ripples in the sky/where the winds meet you might see the dragon’s trail in the gorge”. After recording several albums for Speedstar Records – a division of the JVC empire - in 2020 she set up her own independent label, Hermine, to have more control over her output. Most of her previous albums have seen her perform solo, “acoustically with just my guitar and singing, as if I was the only person in the world,” she says. But “Windswept Adan” sees her collaborating for the first time with Taro Umebayashi, a composer/arranger who performs under the pseudonym Milk. “In the past 10 years I met and faced so many different musicians, creators and situations, and learned the flexibility to freely change the form of expression,” she says. “Until now I’ve always expressed music with just vocals and acoustic guitar. But I’ve always heard a lot of instruments behind my music – a clarinet trio, a harp and so on. It was time to slowly and accurately draw a landscape painting, determining the tone of the instrument that most closely resembled the floating landscape I had. Taro took time to face this process with me. If the image of a flying bird came into my head, Taro would work out what colour it was, how big it was, how the wind travelled when its wings flapped.” Together they have created something that moves far beyond the structures of Aoba’s previous albums. The elegant arpeggios of “Ohayahi” suggest the influence of Philip Glass’s minimalism; the opening guitar vamp on “Sagu Palm’s Song” recalls the introduction to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters Of March”; the vaporous piano chords on “Parfum d’etoiles” resemble Erik Satie; the string-driven melody on “Hagupit” sounds like a baroque symphony; while the harmonium drone on “Horo” conjures up images of Pakistani qawaali music. The fantasy world in which “Windswept Adan” is set is loosely based on Japan’s Southwest Islands – the Ryukyu Archipelago that stretches from Kyushu to Taiwan. Aoba travelled to the island chain in 2020 with photographer Kodai Kobyashi, immersing herself in the beauty of these coral islands, and started to piece together a story that used some of the imagery they recorded. In addition to the new album release, Aoba will also release a English translation of the Windswept Adan plot book which should please her growing legion of fans around the world. The book tells the fictitious story to which the soundtrack (Windswept Adan) was written. As well as the story itself, the 88 page book includes intricate sketches and notes that bring the plot to life, as well as photos depicting inspiration and mood board used during the album's creation. Available exclusively via her webstore, and via Rough Trade East (she will be signing copies on the 18th). “Windswept Adan” 2xLP is out 3rd December via Ba Da Bing Records – pre-order / listen HERE ASSETS: Full bio – by John Lewis Press shot Album art
Ba Da Bing Records
5. Easter Lily
6. Parfum d'étoiles
8. Sagu Palm's Song
10. Red Silence
12. Dawn in the Adan
14. Luminescent Creatures
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