Ego Wrappin’ has been around for a long time. I discovered them in college in the early 2000s but they go back to 1996, which means that this year they’re celebrating their 20th anniversary. For those who don’t know them, Ego Wrappin’ are a duo originally from Osaka: Yoshie Nakano and Masaki Mori. Nakano’s deep, soulful vocals and Mori’s dexterous instrumentation create a unique sound that blends elements of jazz, ska, swing but also cabaret music from Japan’s Showa-era that will at once sound nostalgic and modern at the same time.
Ego Wrappin’s music is full of atmosphere and emotion. Close your eyes and you’ll be transported to a smokey bar in pre-war Japan. I’d like you to start off by listening to one of their older songs, Kuchibashi ni Cherry (Cherry in the beak) because it’s the first song I heard from them. I can guarantee it was sung extensively during many light-night karaoke sessions.
But Ego Wrappin have not lost their touch. While staying consistent, and doing what they’re good at, they’ve managed to stay relevant while not sounding dull. Their latest song, Neon Sign Stomp, sounds just as fresh and sensual as their music did back when I was a college student.
If you’re in Japan this summer and want to see them live, the duo will be touring Japan for a series of 20th anniversary shows. Unfortunately there are now overseas gigs scheduled.