I’m a huge fan of the freakishly gifted, multi-instrument-playing Shugo Tokumaru and his gentle, whimsical tones. And of course I’m not alone. Neojaponisme once wrote, “When it comes to artistic contribution and innovation, Shugo Tokumaru remains the most important member of Japan’s indie music scene. Yet Tokumaru also deserves credit for keeping himself in the business of making music within these incredibly turbulent times. Besides moving a good number of albums, he provides tunes for NHK and Mujirushi Ryohin, tours Europe, and sells-out his shows across Japan.”
Late last year fans in Japan got an early Christmas present when Tokumaru released In Focus, his first full-length album in over 2 years. Now we’re getting a late Christmas present in the form of brand new music video for his track “Katachi” (shape, in Japanese). It was created by the Poland-based stop-motion masters Kijek / Adamski and features roughly 2000 “shapes” in a continuous stop-motion parade. “All these many ‘shapes’ are a representation of our memories – the good, the bad and the ugly,” says Tokumaru about the video. “In the same way that memories create incomplete pictures of the past, seemingly abstract, incongruous ‘shapes’ flow through the scene.”
I’m also a huge fan of the cover art for his album. It’s a photograph shot by Hideki Otsuka, and represents a pretty drastic change for Tokumaru, who has always used illustrations (usually his own) for the art.