Youngbloods celebrates 2023’s international Piano Day with "Look Up At The Stars," the cerebral solo debut by Tokyo-based pianist, composer, and producer NAKAMURA Hiroyuki. Created and manipulated exclusively from his piano, the totality of NAKAMURA’s work is presented as a tone poem exploring innocence, experience, and acceptance through a technicolor palette of surgically precise toccatas and atonal ballads. The imprint of his aural universe is perennial, impressing his swift, dextrous playing style across a brilliant canvas of emotive brush strokes.
NAKAMURA’s singular expertise is well-established within Tokyo’s creative spheres, crafting exploratory productions as a member of local electronica outfits NH-Trio and UN.a (with saxophonist Utsugi Koichi) while touring Japan as a solo pianist and participant in numerous ensembles. NAKAMURA’s career began studying at Showa University of Music as a piano student, where he was exposed to a diverse set of jazz, classical, and pop teachings and able to collaborate with like minded musicians across genres. His experience at Showa University has informed the wide range of his artistic spectrum, working on projects for domestic and international record labels including Purre Goohn, Artlism, and Overlap, and producing for touring acts Utae and SSW. NAKAMURA is a graduate of the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp and has toured globally, performing for audiences at Montreux Jazz Festival Japan, Saitama Super Arena, and the Seibu Prince Dome.
Within the scope of his solo work, NAKAMURA’s playing style is as vividly visual as it is abstract, carefully expressing individual movement as a lone declaration then examining its context within a symphony of layered motifs and improvisations. "Look Up At The Stars" loosely follows the narrative of a child’s innocence in the midst of life’s hardships; its musicianship inspired by German romantic composer Robert Schumann’s "Kinderszenen (Scenes from Childhood)." “Distance,” the album’s opening piece, alludes to a sense of youthful abandon, narrowing in on a bouncing piano lead dancing independently from submerged electronic manipulations which seem to follow its every move in the shadows. “Sing,” shifts our listening perspective, zooming in on NAKAMURA’s sentimental lead and bringing us physically closer to the piano before launching into a trio of exquisitely violent mosaics comprised of loops and extemporaneous call-and-response voices in “Lay,” “Get Rid of My Anxiety,” and “Chimaera.” “Tomtom” (a version of which was previously released on Youngbloods’ Singular Forms compilation) gracefully eases NAKAMURA’s instrumentation into harmony, sending thematic leads and previously recycled loops parallel through an interlude of drone, seeing the piece’s various parts emerge in unison as a more confident, jazz-inspired rendition of itself. The album’s titular conclusion mimics the sonic evolution of the record itself, merging a collection of ambient whispers until each component reconciles into a resonant hymn.
For NAKAMURA, the overarching rhythm of his work is just as important as the accuracy of each individual note. In NAKAMURA’s words:
“When you look at the distance and difference between yourself and the outside, you can be aware of your existence for the first time. I feel that looking inward and outward are synonymous.”
released March 29, 2023
Written, Recorded, and Produced by NAKAMURA Hiroyuki
Mastered by Steve Kitch at Audiomaster, UK
Artwork by Maria Noto
Layout by Nicholas Concklin
Executive Produced by Nicholas Concklin and John Moses
Published by Mushpost, LLC (ASCAP)