Going back to yesterday’s point about how Music Interior provided a space for musician’s to stretch outside their known fields, today we have another perfect example of what this exactly means. Tokyo-born and bred, Masahide Sakuma started out his career in the pioneering surfabilly/B-52s-influenced Japanese band Plastics. The multi-instrumentalist of the group, it wouldn’t be rare to find him trading angular guitar for gnarly synth-led squall. But like anything in that realm, there was only so much experimentation he could do in that style. What Music Interior presented him was an opportunity to follow these other strains of music that had far more to say. Lisa would mark an important bifurcation point in his career.
Pinpointing a single track off Masahide Sakuma’s Lisa as symbolizing the rest of the album is impossible. You hear so many styles – neo-folk, chanson, ambient, minimal, tango, New Age, funk – just bouncing off each other in ways that just blends into one unique, visionary thing. How else do you explain an album kicking off with a track Simon Jeffes would have killed to record with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra? The track after that sounds like it could have been off something from the Durutti Column. Then comes something that wouldn’t sound out of place in the most atmospheric parts of Cluster’s music. “A Demain” sounds like some forgotten Joan Bibiloni track. It’s an album that just adds up to an experience.
Playing electric violin, synths, pianos and all sorts of collected samples and loops, Masahide builds Lisa like Eno and Byrne built My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Everything just sounds so organic and well-arranged, that everything just flows, even if the components shouldn’t seem to. Working with producer Seigén Ono, together they craft an album that cycles through all sorts of emotions, styles, sounds, and ideas without regard to genre.
Lisa seems to imagine all these various rooms we have in our household, all requiring music for different occasions. You know these rooms. Some are for rest. Some are for study. Some are for entertainment. Others are for contemplation. Others are for rumination. Some just bleed into each other, hosting all sorts of in-between feelings. The overarching feeling, though, is one of comfort. At the end of the day, shouldn’t a good home provide that sense for you?
Masahide Sakuma’s Lisa posits that critical question.