In the second half of 2022, we’re working toward some big things. As of early September 2022, we’ve already played for Jungle Love Festival and Brisbane Festival. In October this year, we’re due to play at Port Fairy Spring Music Festival in Victoria. And in the closing months of 2022, we’re going to bring you all-new recordings from an all-new album.
Unlike last time, we’re going to introduce this next album in stages. This will involve periodically releasing its music, so you’ll be able to enjoy it even during the process of its development. Our first single from this album is called Carrying The Fire (yes, this is a reference to The Road, by Cormac Mccarthy!).
Our new album, like the last one, is ripe with symbolism and reverence for nature, grounded in lore, emanating mystique and a catalyst for imagined dances and imagined worlds. It’s darker in parts, it’s changed in parts, and it’s considerably longer. As well as our core duo (Tom and Nozomi) it involves collaborations with singers and instrumentalists, including an entire string quartet. More on this soon (we can’t wait to introduce you to our collaborators). We really hope you are looking forward to it.
If you’re lucky enough to be in Port Fairy for the festival (see link above), you will get to hear some of this all-new material before anyone else on earth. We will be playing there, on stage with Black Square Quartet as part of a 90 minute feast for the ears.
Regardless of your travels during October, stay tuned. We’ve got so much music to get to you!
Imagery: These photos were taking during Brisbane Festival’s Art Boat Cruise, and the installation visible in these shots is called The Spheres by internationally renowned visual artist Lindy Lee.
Tom is going to multi-tasking himself more for this new piece! Yes we are going to play our new tune amongst your favourite our tunes.
Come to see us on Sunday 26th September!!
Also we will be at Concrete Jungle by Jungle Love on Saturday 9th Oct 2021 Midday to Midnight at the princess theatre. I will post about this closer to this date. But the tickets are selling fast for this too, so please secure your seats from booking tickets! https://theprincesstheatre.com.au/events/concrete-jungle
Shugorei (the album) was two years in the making, and is being released March 4, 2021.
You can preorder the album (either physical or as a download) at Bandcamp:
The album is charged up with an inimitable array of percussion and bricolage, performed by Nozomi Omote and knitted together with Thomas Green’s electronics. It is reminiscent of Amon Tobin, Björk and Geinoh Yamashirogumi. It brings together a range of influences by exploiting an unusually wide sonic palette; it features gapless playback (if you play the CD or enable this feature in Spotify), permitting a narrative-like portrayal of its central theme – the ghostly protector spirit – a tiger-esque form – the Shugorei.
Omote and Green collect instruments as well as musical objects. An unusually broad range of sounds has made its way onto this album. Being hoarders is one thing that Omote and Green have very much in common. Here is a non-exhaustive list of instruments you can hear on the album: vibraphone, marimba (natural and prepared), tom toms, snare drums, Chinese cymbals and gongs, floor tiles, hand bells, sleigh bells, wheelie bin, wind-up toys, marbles, singing bowls, sheets of steel, boots and cardboard boxes, an old rattling desk, yangqin, angklung, mandolin, ukulele, French horn, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet, cello, Moog Voyager, Arturia Minibrute and Microfreak, Akai MPC, Korg Monotribe and Elektron Maschinedrum.
Three of the eleven works are improvisations, created primarily by Nozome Omote, then added to by Thomas Green. Nozomi quickly, masterfully completed these other-worldly works in a single pass, one quiet afternoon in the studio. However, in general, the creation of the album was painstaking, with each track requiring several month’s worth of attention.
Chihiro Kasagi lends her extraordinary voice to Shugorei’s “bilingual single,” on track 9 of the album, titled Shugorei. This stunning work is all the more compelling thanks to Chihiro’s delivery of verses in both English and Japanese. The song’s lyrics were written by Thomas Green, borrowing some choice phrases from William Blake’s The Tyger. This “tyger” is of course the unifying feature of the album – it is a kind of Guardian Spirit (you can catch a glimpse of him on the album artwork, above).
Here is the text of William Blake’s The Tyger:
Tyger Tyger, burning bright, In the forests of the night; What immortal hand or eye, Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies. Burnt the fire of thine eyes? On what wings dare he aspire? What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art, Could twist the sinews of thy heart? And when thy heart began to beat, What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain, In what furnace was thy brain? What the anvil? what dread grasp, Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears And water’d heaven with their tears: Did he smile his work to see? Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright, In the forests of the night: What immortal hand or eye, Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
Dan Curro played cello on this track and others on the album; you’ll hear his col legno in particular. Nick Harmsen and Sandy Chou provided all the woodwind features, with Nick doubling on clarinet and bass clarinet, and Sandy executing seemingly impossible arpeggios on her flute.
The album will become available on all platforms (e.g. Spotify and Apple Music) from March 4, 2021. More news is to follow (in particular, some exciting news about Shugorei’s launch in Brisbane). Follow Shugorei on Facebook to receive details.
Hello! This is Noz. First time to write here. My husband is luckily a professional clarinettist and Shugorei asked him to play and record his sound for our first album. Some bits sounded hard. So thank you to amazing Nick to do it. Today was the second part of clarinet and bass clarinet recording at home. I went off from home with my kids to reduce noise, so I wasn’t there. But he did a great job. Nick told me that there was some big noise from neighbour who was working their garden. So it was tricky to do a home recording. In the end he did it. Thank you Nick!!!
Musicians can’t pay a fancy animation studio. Animators are gems, and we know it can take hundreds of hours to do even a minute of animation. For us, the truth is, if we want it done we’re going to have to do it ourselves. The medium is going to be stop motion paper art (a bit like origami) with some quasi rotoscoping. Is this a crazy dream? Maybe! Honestly, we’re not sure how this particular crazy scheme is going to work out. Tom is great at animating, but there are only so many hours in the day. . .
That said, the music is finished! “In the can,” as they say. And this particular song is so, SOOOO good. We can hardly wait to share it with you. It is an actual song, beautifully sung by our dear friend Chihiro Kasagi (she has such a beautiful voice). Don’t worry, you’ll get to hear it soon. Not just yet, but soon!
In the mean time, maybe we can share this with you. It’s some of Tom’s drawings for the storyboard. We’ve put it with the music (although we can’t share that yet). This is the story:
Girl is exploring a forest. She looks at her hands and they are transparent (who knows why??). She has a locket, and in it there is a broken heart. She comes across a bright light, that turns into a tiger (very similar to that “tyger” described by William Blake). It runs, and she runs away from it. She trips and falls, but the tiger does not attack her. She explores more, the “tyger” comes and goes, and is very bright (in the forests of the night!). At the end of the song, when the tyger dares to come nearer, her heart locket is repaired, but she must dissappear into the night.
Well. . . . firstly you should know we’re working on an album. It’s almost finished. It’s fair to say that the situation with the Covid virus in 2020 has slowed us down. But it has not stopped us. We have just a few more instruments to record, including bass clarinet and flute. Then we’re done! So stick with us (hit subscribe on our page if you’re interested!)
Once we release our first album, we’re immediately moving on to new material. We have two related projects underway. Nozomi is composing some music based on traditional Japanese songs, and we hope to bring this to you soon.
We also want to create a brand new work called “The Sounds of Our Place.” Our plan is simple – we’ll ask members of the community in Kanazawa and Brisbane to record videos and sounds from their place – around the town, or maybe a song, a river, a bird, or any sound they find interesting. We plan to take these recordings (from our friends in Kanazawa and Brisbane), and knit them together into a single musical work for live performance (including video). We’ll be in touch with you about how this exciting plan progresses.
In the mean time, you might enjoy some more of our rehearsal footage, photos, or check out the very first project that Tom and Noz worked on together, called City Pattern!
Here is some more (virtual) rehearsal footage. Note that these items are little sneak peeks of our 2020 upcoming album!
Tom and Noz often practice independently, because Brisbane is quite immense, geographically! The upshot is that we video our practice sessions and often “glue” them together later. We’ll definitely be posting more of our practice and production as we move ahead, so please subscribe to our site if you’d like to watch it unfold.
Brisbane is a big place. An hour’s drive separates Tom and Noz. So we often practice independently. This means we frequently have videos to show of our practice sessions! Here’s one (above). We’ll come back and post more as we go!