Inspired by Japan’s four seasons, Kosemura dedicates 12 songs (3 songs for each season) and expresses the beauty of various moments in the country of rich nature – cherry blossoms, rainy season, fallen leaves and snowy landscape.
With this album, Kosemura elaborates his musical identity as a Japanese in his highly acclaimed solo piano format.
“This album began in the early summer of 2020, when I was contacted by Decca Records,” says Kosemura. “The seeds of ideas that emerged from our conversations about each other and our future projects gradually grew within me. This is a sort of the island music, in which I try to reexamine the world in front of me, which is very universal and precious to me, feeling the smell, touch, and memories of the land where I grew up, and keep my eyes open even for small changes that I might miss. That led me to this record.”
“I tried to catch the notes just the way I am, and not to express to avoid the excessive creativity,”Kosemura explains. “To achieve that, solo piano format was the most honest way for me to draw a simple pencil sketch, not a colorful painting with many pigments on a palette.”
The music of Kosemura has been highly renowned worldwide not only for his own works, but also for numerous well-known films, TV series, video games, and commercials including American TV series “Love Is” and “True Mothers” (directed by Naomi Kawase), an official selection of the Cannes International Film Festival. His talent has been enthusiastically supported by eminent artists such as Devendra Banhart, Gilles Peterson, M83 and many others.
“This album is like a love letter I wrote for the first time to this small island country, where I was born in Tokyo and have spent more than 37 years of my life,” says Kosemura. “I hope people would enjoy this record in every season of the year.”
A Decca Records Release
Ⓟ＆ⓒ 2023 SCHOLE INC., under exclusive license to UNIVERSAL MUSIC LLC
About Akira Kosemura:
‘Japan is known for having very beautiful seasons. Every day, as we live, we are influenced so much by them – the change of the season, the air, the temperature, the wind, or the smell of the wind. Those are things that inspires us.’
It’s clear that nature is something that is very much at the heart of Akira Kosemura, both the man and the music that he makes. His is a natural talent, born of a fascination with film music, storytelling and a curiosity about the sounds of the world around us. That all shines through in Seasons, but the seeds have been sewn by the musician and composer over the last 15 years and a blossoming career that seemingly grew out of nowhere. Or should that be somewhere?
Tokyo is home for Kosemura, it’s where he was born, and it continues to play an important role in shaping his identity as a composer. It was through walking the streets in and around the Japanese capital that a 20-year-old Kosemura found early inspiration. Those walks were a kind of therapy during a difficult time and he decided to carry an audio recorder with him to capture the soundscapes he encountered. Those field recordings, of life and nature, inspired him to create tracks which brought together elements of what he’d collected with the sound of his piano.
Some of that music was picked up for use in an advert and it was noticed by the Australian label Room40. They released it through their imprint label Something Good as an album called It’s On Everything, which was released when Kosemura was still studying at university in 2007. Suddenly, Akira Kosemura was a composer and a recording artist, and that same year he set up his own record label, Schole Records. From then on he has produced his own albums, and at a rate of nearly one every year. These have included Grassland (2010), One Day (2016) and In the Dark Woods (2017), each has seen him become more musically adventurous, adding electronics, vocals, winds and strings to his expanding toolbox of sounds. Seasons, with its stripped-back piano melodies, is Kosemura’s inaugural recording for UMG and his first release on a major label.
Completely self-taught, Kosemura has truly navigated and furrowed his own path in music. When he was growing up, playing the piano and singing in a school band were the earliest aspects of his musical world, along with trips to the cinema and hours spent immersed in soundtrack albums of music by film composers he really admired. He cites listening to the music of John Williams, James Horner and Thomas Newman as playing a huge part in his musical education; their music and innate ability to shape narrative led him to become interested not just in film music, but instrumental music, too.
It’s no surprise then that creating music for stories has become a regular part of what Akira Kosemura does. His first professional gig was composing music for choreographer Kimiho Hulbert’s 2012 ballet Manon – a self-confessed baptism of fire for the composer, followed by the feature films Embers (2014) and Bring on the Melody (2017). The small screen has beckoned, too, with music for TV series’ such as Japan’s Meet Me After School (2018) and the Oprah Winfrey Network’s Love Is… (2018), while Kosemura’s music has graced an abundance of screen adverts, documentaries, short animated films and even a fashion show. His highest profile works to date include the score for director Naomi Kawase’s film True Mothers, officially selected for screening at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, and the NintendoSwitch video game JackJeanne, while the Jonas Brothers film Chasing Happiness used music from Kosemura’s back catalogue.
All of that music has started out life at the piano or on the keyboard, where Kosemura is at his most comfortable. He was learning to play the piano as young as age three, but the formalities of classical tuition never really grabbed him and he gave it up by the time he reached middle school. He didn’t give up the instrument entirely, though; indeed, the piano remained a source of great inspiration and has always been a crucial creative outlet.
That said, it is sound and its creative tonal possibilities that continue to be at the forefront of what is important to the artist and how he operates. He rarely spends his time on melodies, those seemingly just come to him; instead he is more focused on harmony, chord progression and arrangements.
The result is music that resonates, responds, tells a tale and stays true to everything Akira Kosemura holds dear, everything he feels. Music is in his nature.
/// Album Track List ///
WHERE LIFE COMES FROM AND RETURNS
NIJI NO KANATA
PASSAGE OF LIGHT
TOWARDS THE DAWN
Music composed, arranged, performed by Akira Kosemura
Piano Technician: Yasuaki Kubota
Recorded by Akira Kosemura at Schole Tokyo
Mixed by Shunroku Hitani at 54it Tokyo
Mastered by Zino Mikorey at Zino Mikorey Mastering Berlin
Cover design: ROKKAN DESIGN
Photographs: Yusuke Abe
Art direction, artwork & design: Shin Kikuchi (SCHOLE INC.)
Produced by Akira Kosemura