Tomo Nakayama | Pieces of Sky

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United States - Washington

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Folk: Folk-Rock Electronic: Folktronic Moods: Solo Male Artist
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Pieces of Sky

by Tomo Nakayama

Second solo album from Seattle singer/songwriter/producer. Melodic, lyrical folk combined with analog synths and orchestral flourishes, contemplative songs of love and human connection.
Genre: Folk: Folk-Rock
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bright and Blue
2:59 $0.99
2. Roma
3:47 $0.99
3. Undying Light
4:30 $0.99
4. My Life Is Better Because You Are in It
3:29 $0.99
5. Pieces of Sky
4:16 $0.99
6. Fourth of Julivar's
4:30 $0.99
7. I Will Not Be Moved
3:17 $0.99
8. Walking for Two
2:35 $0.99
9. Make Me a Bird
4:14 $0.99
10. All Entwined
2:59 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Since releasing his previous album, every few days Tomo Nakayama has pushed his guitar through the X-ray machine, re-laced his shoes and set up behind a microphone amidst the arrivals and departures at the Seattle/Tacoma Airport. Much like a piano-man in the rotunda or a fiddler in the Underground, Tomo collects his belongings, counts his earnings, and clocks out at the end of the shift. Throughout this process of returning, Nakayama’s 1st Act as an artist and musician (for more than 20 years) has now, in many ways, transformed to a state of second nature.

Brian Eno coined the term “ambient music” in the liner notes of his release, Music for Airports in 1979 — stating that it was “intended to induce calm and a space to think.” Although Nakayama’s Pieces of Sky is vastly different from Eno’s in tone and structure, its effect and context might ultimately be best described as, “airport music.”

The themes of Pieces of Sky reflect a man existing somewhere between terminals, amongst the honeymooners, home-comers, mourners, and the endless hum of televised news. As thousands of passengers walk by, some give a gentle grin, some deliver offerings and accolades, some pass hurriedly as if Nakayama resembled a potted fern. But the fragments of Tomo’s music which manage to attach themselves all emit the same effect that Eno described in his own music — they induce a space to think.

The sequencing of the album itself is a set of interval arrivals and departures for Nakayama as a songwriter. The first track, “Bright and Blue” opens with an established voice and tone that the singer has carved out over the last two decades - it’s anchored and confident, but leaves just enough of an opening for the vocals and instrumentation to begin their ascent into new territory. “Roma” expands on this idea as Tomo sings over a lush bed of strings and piano, pushing his voice to an urgent and vulnerable height until it feels like it might shatter through the cracks completely. “Undying Light,” finds Nakayama exploring the parameters of relying on a single chord throughout the song, and the result is remarkably one of the songwriter’s most intricate sounding compositions to date. The axis point of the album is the title track “Pieces of Sky,” which manages to embody all of Nakayama’s qualities as an artist up to this point — taking a complex subject and making it feel simple and attainable, while weaving intricate guitar patterns through an ethereal field. From there, the album maintains this design of alternating from a foreign place to the familiar, but through the process of repeating, a sort of “stripping away” takes place and a new side of Nakayama emerges. As the organic textures continue to yield to electronic ambience, you reach the final track “All Entwined,” which ultimately leaves you with a sense of looking at the complicated world from somewhere high above, at zero gravity.

So now that Tomo Nakayama’s airport residency has come to pass and its effects have been printed on wax, the best listening experience of this album might be in some real or imagined take-off from the Earth’s surface, above the ominous clouds which may or may not ever reach down — in the aspirins of immaculate air.

- Grant Olsen, 5/30/2017



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