Akira Kosemura: Tiny Musical (remaster 2015)

This remastered reissue of Akira Kosemura's second solo album Tiny Musical (originally released in 2008) seemingly straddles two worlds. On the one hand, certain tracks (“Sky,” “Shorebird,” “Remembrance”) position the release squarely within the electronica tradition; on the other, there are acoustic settings shorn of anything electronica-related (“Light Dance,” “Moon,” “Smile”) that are more representative of the style Kosemura's been pursuing on recent releases. At the risk of oversimplifying things, the electronica pieces feel more like the work of a now-past era, whereas those featuring acoustic piano are more timeless by comparison.

He issued the original album at the tender age of twenty-two and in doing so showed himself to be a versatile instrumentalist: credited with piano, pianica, guitar, electronics, and programming, Kosemura is joined on the fifty-three-minute recording by acoustic guitarist Muneki Takasaka (aka Schole artist paniyolo) on three songs. A brief electronica-oriented “Overture” leads us into the album's first proper song, “Departure,” a lightly swinging, downtempo blend of loping beats, electronic treatments, and joyous piano melodies. With Takasaka's acoustic playing woven into its sparkling, electro-acoustic framework, the subsequent “Parterre” assumes the character of a prototypical folktronica piece.

Clearly the album's centerpiece, “Light Dance” is the kind of ear-catching neo-classical setting at which Kosemura excels; stately and lilting, the piece requires nothing more than piano to get its joyous message across (the later “Light Dance – Home” offers an equally endearing take in an arrangement featuring melodica and Takasaka's acoustic). By comparison, “Sky,” the track that follows, single-handedly distills the electronica genre into a svelte, three-minute package, after which “Moon” returns us to the piano-centered realm with a restrained exercise in wistful melancholy.

Included with the release are liner notes (in Japanese only) by Takeshi Yoshimura and, a real treat, the actual score to “Light Dance” to enable budding pianists everywhere to perform Kosemura's pretty song. The overall mood of Tiny Musical is quietly radiant and uplifting, its music lulling and pastoral, and one comes away from this early entry in Kosemura's discography very much aware of his plentiful gifts as a composer, melodicist, and pianist.

October 2015