Leo Takami

Next Door

Unseen Worlds • 2023

Leo Takami’s music shines down on your spirit like the sun on an unseasonably warm winter’s day, according to the press blurb for the Japanese composer’s new release. So, in view of both climate change and the temperatures this autumn, the Tokyo producer should be looking forward to a bright future. In fact, his pieces seem to have been made for the later sunny days of the year, because they have an inherent gentleness to them, bordering on naivety, that allows for no turbulence and only contentment. Leo Takami’s three basic ingredients are guitar, piano and synthesiser, with the former sounding the most dominant. The album’s musical signature can best be gleaned from »Beyond«, the album’s third track. A beautiful synth melody borrowed from Kankyō Ongaku, Japanese environmental music, repeats in the background. Takami’s guitar plays in the foreground and is more or less unaffected by this. Its speed and spontaneity is reminiscent of Tom Misch’s jitteriness. On »Next Door« Takami combines the traditional with the popular, which seems trivial in the less good moments, but evokes a lightheartedness in the good ones that his listeners may want to save for the cold season. Titles like »Winter Day« and »Spring Snow« give a strong indication of this, while the barely two-minute long »Road With Cypress And Star« of all things achieves a rare depth.