***On his previous albums, Japanese multi-instrumentalist SHUGO TOKUMARU has brilliantly showcased his ability to push the boundaries of what pop music can be—crafting infinitely rewarding songs built on layers upon layers of sounds produced by instruments both familiar and unique. For TOSS, Tokumaru originally intended to take a much more straightforward path, enlisting the help of musicians from around the world to record bits and pieces of music without knowing how they would ultimately be used. This process led to Tokumaru taking fragments others had recorded for him and lining up the short phrases and riffs, repeatedly combining and substituting the arrangements as if he was working on a musical puzzle. Though much more time-consuming than his original vision, the songs on TOSS are all testaments to Tokumaru’s innate understanding of how to craft a piece of music that becomes much greater than the sum of its parts. Pressed on 180-gram clear blue vinyl with download. (STREET DATE - 4/28/2017)
***Received a 7.6 rating from Pitchfork. For the first half of 2012, SHUGO TOKUMARU locked himself inside his home studio while working on In Focus?, often forgetting to eat and sleep for long stretches of time while crafting the record’s 15 songs—each of which contains an average of 20 instruments and hundreds of recorded parts that are meticulously mixed together to create a single, cohesive track. As a result of this extreme care and attention to detail, In Focus?—despite its title—represents the clearest manifestation of Tokumaru’s multifaceted musical vision to date. From slow building album opener “Circle”’s perfect transition into standout track “Katachi,” to lead single “Decorate” and the beautifully delicate acoustic ballad “Tightrope,” it’s clear that Tokumaru has again succeeded in writing universal melodies while singing in his native Japanese. After Tokumaru completed recording and mixing, In Focus? was mastered at Abbey Road Studios—a fitting location for an artist who grew up listening to the Beatles and Japanese pop music and whose music builds on the best elements of both to produce a unique sound irresistible to listeners regardless of their generation or the language they speak.