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In a series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.
Before I even wrote a single note of music, I knew that one of the centerpieces on City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya would have to be called Meiji Shrine. The place just left that much of an impression on me.
Meiji Shrine, or Meiji Jingu in Japanese, is a large Shinto shrine dedicated to the beloved and influential Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shoken, and situated in the forest at the end of Omotesando, across the street from the legendary Budokan hall. The people of Tokyo visit the shrine to practice their religion and to pay their respects to the spirits of the emperial couple. Many consider Meiji Shrine and the adjacent forest their spiritual home.
The working title of this track was "Arigato, Dilla", arigato meaning "thank you" in Japanese, as I started writing it as an hommage to one of my personal all-time heroes. In the context of the album, the solemn melody and airy pads reminded me of the calm serenity of Meiji Shrine.
Even though "The Inner Garden" doesn't directly follow "Meiji Shrine", the former has everything to do with the latter. The Inner Garden is the name of a public garden situated within the larger Meijri Shrine complex. As history tells it, the garden was visited frequently by Emperor Meiji and Empress Shoken. I imagine that they enjoyed it as a quiet place of reflection, away from it all. If you put a different spin on it, The Inner Garden represents that place within yourself where you go when you want to get away from everything.
Listen now on Last.fm:
The Inner Garden