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Postcards From Shibuya #7: Meiji Shrine/The Inner Garden

by Nicolay on November 9, 2009 at 8:31 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #7: Meiji Shrine/The Inner Garden
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.

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Postcards From Shibuya #6: Omotesando

by Nicolay on November 2, 2009 at 8:36 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #6: Omotesando
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.
Omotesando is the name of one of the main avenues in the Shibuya district. It is best known as an upscale shopping area featuring several international brand boutique stores and outlets. Over 100,000 cars drive down this avenue every day.

As I was going through all of our photographs of Shibuya, searching for album art material, I came across the image of the cars driving down Omotesando, and I knew I had found the front cover.

''Omotesando'', one of the earlier pieces that I recorded for City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya, opens the second suite of instrumentals on the album, and, following the avenue that it is named after, segues into "Meiji Shrine''.

Thanks for listening,

Nicolay

Listen now on Last.fm:

Omotesando Play this track
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Postcards From Shibuya #5: Saturday Night/A Ride Under The Neon Moon

by Nicolay on October 6, 2009 at 8:40 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #5: Saturday Night/A Ride Under The Neon Moon
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.
Electronic/dance music continues to be a big influence on me, as evidenced by the 'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' album in general, and "Saturday Night", featuring the fabulous Carlitta Durand, in particular. While putting together the final configuration, Phonte convinced me to include the full 6-minute version, and I am glad he did. "Saturday Night" became the centerpiece of the album.

Best listened to LOUD!

Until next time,

Nicolay

Listen now on Last.fm:

Saturday Night feat. Carlitta Durand Play this track
A Ride Under The Neon Moon Play this track
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Postcards From Shibuya #4: Rain In Ueno Park/Satellite

by Nicolay on September 25, 2009 at 10:42 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #4: Rain In Ueno Park/Satellite
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.
"Rain In Ueno Park" and "Satellite" are the third and fourth movements of the first 'Shibuya' suite and, similarly to "Shibuya Station" and "Crossing", they are closely related to each other.

Ueno Park, technically not situated in the district of Shibuya, is one of Tokyo's largest and most popular parks, built on the hallowed grounds of a long-gone temple. A steady rain came down for the entire time that we spent visiting the park and its neighbouring areas, under the expert guidance of our friend GG. Even though we were quickly soaked through and through, Ueno did leave a lasting impression, as you can hear in "Rain In Ueno Park".

Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #4: Rain In Ueno Park/Satellite

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Postcards From Shibuya #3: Shibuya Station/Crossing

by Nicolay on September 17, 2009 at 9:07 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #3: Shibuya Station/Crossing
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.
'City Lights Vol. 2: Shibuya' is built around two 'suites', or sets, of four and six instrumental songs respectively. The two suites are book-ended by several vocal songs that feature Carlitta Durand. "Lose Your Way", the album's introduction, segues into the first suite, consisting of "Shibuya Station", "Crossing", "Rain In Ueno Park" and "Satellite".

The demo version of "Shibuya Station" was among those first ideas that I recorded almost immediately after returning from my trip to Tokyo. The uptempo drums and percussion represent the frantic pace of the city's traffic, with a nod to 8-Bit Nintendo music in the intro. With over two million people passing through each workday (!), "Shibuya Station" is one of the world's busiest railway stations, and it seemed like the most appropriate starting point for a walk around Shibuya. A big shout out to my brother Zo! for laying down a smoldering solo on the Rhodes.

Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #3: Shibuya Station/Crossing

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Postcards From Shibuya #2: Lose Your Way

by Nicolay on September 11, 2009 at 9:16 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #2: Lose Your Way
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.
I recorded an instrumental demo, titled "Universe", towards the end of the sessions for 'Leave It All Behind', as I was getting ready to put together the 'Shibuya' album. Much like most ideas that I put down, I sent it to Phonte for some feedback. Over the years, this practice has become somewhat of a litmus test for me. Fortunately, he took to the track. I personally hadn't necessarily considered "Universe" for inclusion on 'Shibuya', but a few months later, when Phonte sent me the song he wrote to it, titled "Lose Your Way", everything literally fell into place. We had been brainstorming on conceptual ideas for the album, and the song brought all of the different elements together, inviting the listener to take a trip to the city, with the voice of Carlitta Durand as a guide.

Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #2: Lose Your Way

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Postcards From Shibuya #1: The story behind Shibuya

by Nicolay on September 4, 2009 at 9:54 AM · Comments
Postcards From Shibuya #1: The story behind Shibuya
In a new series of blogs titled 'Postcards From Shibuya', Nicolay explains what the inspiration was for his new album and how its songs came together.
Ever since I first released the original 'City Lights' album, I have been planning a sequel, hence the 'Vol. 1', and later 'Vol. 1.5', in the title. I knew that I wanted it to be another collection of instrumentals, and I knew that I didn't want to simply repeat the formula, and so I wasn't quite sure in what direction to take the sequel. This all changed when I got the chance to visit Tokyo (Japan), in November of 2006.

Continue reading Postcards From Shibuya #1: The story behind Shibuya

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