Since 2017, Berkely-born and Kyoto-based singer-songwriter LUCA has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and, more recently, partnered with haruka nakamura in several projects. The duo LUCA & haruka nakamura, known to their Japanese listeners as arca, presents their first album together entitled ‘the world’ – a heart-centering folk elegy and hazy lyrical path towards oneness with the self and the world.
Recorded at Studio Camel House in Yamanashi by their contemporary Gen Tanabe, the same romanticism remains at the heart of LUCA & haruka nakamura’s work. haruka nakamura composes most tracks and plays all instruments (piano, acoustic guitar, synthesizer, harmonium) with tasteful restrain in creating an unvarnished intimate atmosphere. His unique ability to tune into our deepest feelings through his compositions is mirrored through LUCA’s words and tender vocals. LUCA primarily sings the songs. For the first time, haruka nakamura introduces his vocals to his sound world as the duo sometimes swap lead vocal duties or join in casual harmonies.
In the album opener ‘Funade’, the song traverse through the liminal realm between happy and sad, reflecting on departures and new beginnings. ‘SUN DANCE,’ an unfinished track between the legendary Japanese producer Nujabes and haruka nakamura which was rearranged for the album, reaches the early peaks of sublime grace and joyful tranquility along with ‘ray’ and ‘one day.’ The opening tracks conjure up a sun-filled open sky before turning gray in the hauntingly beautiful ‘Astraia’ and the melancholic poeticism of ‘Hachiboshi,’ both songs a quietly distinct heir of Baier, Bunyan, and Dalton’s fragile folk.
With a centered reflective continuity maintained, the middle of the album wanders off into cosmic territories in the hymn-like ambient reverie ‘STARDUST’ and the celestial synthesis of ‘LUNE.’ The bittersweet arpeggio-driven ballad ‘Umibe no Leon’ rides on sounds of the lightest waves’ ripples, a vintage haruka nakamura composition in the purest sense, evoking an overwhelming feeling of renewal. The duo closes the album with ‘Sekai’ and ‘Assirera;’ capturing all the mystery and awe of the world in melodies. ‘the world’ speaks to the wanderlust in all of us. Like a study of constellations, the universe both bewilders and connects. A reminder that we should always look up and always be filled with hope.
LUCA & haruka nakamura’s ‘the world’ is available on October 30th, 2020, on CD and digital formats. A limited double LP vinyl release will be available on 4th December. Marking haruka nakamura’s sixth release on KITCHEN. LABEL, the album is designed by the artist’s long-time collaborators Ricks Ang and April Lee, featuring the artworks by Japanese painter Hayato Kumagai.
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