SAMURAI SESSIONS Vol. 1
Review by Nhu Nguyen
After Miyavi left PS Company in 2009 and formed his own record label, J-Glam, it may have proven to be a lot more difficult to venture on his own than he had imagined. Despite getting married and having children, Miyavi’s 2010 release What’s My Name? carried some dark undertones, which contrasted with the happy-go-lucky-Miyavi many fans knew him as.
If dreamy ballad, “Inori Wo” on his latest studio album, SAMURAI SESSIONS Vol. 1, is an indicator of his current mindset, “Daybreak has come / The rain has stopped / The wind is blowing / The clouds have dissolved / We can now see tomorrow,” he is headed towards a positive direction.
“Y-y-yoo~! This is an exclusive session from Tokyo to the world,” Miyavi pipes on opening track “GANRYU”. This Volume 1 is the first part of his SAMURAI SESSIONS WORLD SERIES, a project where he takes listeners on his musical journey collaborating with musicians from all over the world.
Long gone are Miyavi’s Visual Kei days, where he originally gained fame. This project and album is about him as an artist, his guitar, and the music he is able to create with musicians of various genres. There are only 7 tracks on this album, yet every track is diverse. The guitarist works with French electronic producer, Yuksek (“Day 1”), Japanese breakbeat duo, HIFANA (“GANRYU”), rapper KREVA on “Strong”, and musically battles with keyboardist H ZETT M on “PLEASURE!”
These collaborations make his music not only refreshing, but inspiring as well. On “HA NA BI”, Miyavi works with Flamenco guitarist Jin Oki and shamisen player Hiromitsu Agatsuma on this firework of a piece (excuse the pun). Adrenaline bursts out of each instrument as the three musician’s feed off of each others’ energy in this rock, flamenco, shamisen hoe-down.
SAMURAI SESSIONS Vol. 1 proves to be a fun 26 minutes of organically crafted music. The brevity and creativity of this album will leave listeners anticipating what new sounds and artists will be featured in Volume 2.