Akira Kosemura: Our Own Picture

2016 saw Akira Kosemura release two very different album-length projects, the first, Momentary: Memories of the Beginning, a somewhat pop-oriented collection featuring contributions from the likes of Devendra Banhart and Nagi Yanagi, and the second, One Day, a set of heartwarming sketches he recorded on an old piano at his parent's home. The release of the three-song EP Our Own Picture serves notice that 2017 has the potential to be as satisfying a year artistically for the Tokyo-based composer. Ten years on from the release of his debut album, It's On Everything, and the founding of his Schole label, Kosemura would appear to be experiencing a particularly fertile period of creativity.

One of the tracks is called “Joy,” though even if another title had been used the quietly rapturous spirit of the EP's material would still communicate clearly, especially when the songs were designed to convey in musical form the composer's feelings about his changing personal circumstances. A setting written with his wife and newborn son in mind, “You” must be one of the prettiest pieces he's written (the same might be said for its accompanying video), even if its simple, wistful melodies are tinged with heartache; par for the Kosemura course, melody is paramount, and technique is used in service to capturing mood. “Out of the Solitary Mind” focuses on the challenges that arise when a balance is sought between family time and the solitude needed to create, and as such the music's character is reflective. Though the aforementioned “Joy” first appeared in 2013, the solo piano treatment presented on Our Own Picture breathes new life into it. The fact that Kosemura positioned it at the EP's end suggests that he wanted the listener to come away from the release on a celebratory high, especially when the song so clearly favours uplift over melancholy.

February 2017