I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tomita Lab -- Shipbuilding

Almost 10 years ago, I was watching one of the Japanese music video channels when this video came on which took place in this fashionable little cafe. A lone young man starts crooning this bossa nova-flavoured mid-tempo tune over his latte which sounds so soothing. Titled "Nemuri no Mori"(眠りの森...Sleeping Forest) of the YouTube responders rightly commented that this is a great song to hear in the morning. Absolutely correct! The lone young man is Hanaregumi (ハナレグミ), lead vocalist of the band Super Butter Dog, and he is joined by the composer and arranger of the song, Keiichi Tomita (富田恵一), aka Tomita Lab. The lyricist is none other than Takashi Matsumoto(松本隆), the 2nd-most commercially successful lyricist in Japanese history, just behind Yu Aku(阿久悠). Matsumoto was the drummer for the New Rock band, Happy End, in the early 70s before writing words for everyone from Seiko Matsuda(松田聖子) to Mika Nakashima(中島美嘉). And he wrote the No. 1 song of 1981, Akira Terao's(寺尾聡) "Ruby no Yubiwa"ルビーの指輪).

As for Tomita, he is no slouch either. He has also helped produced some of the big names over the past decade such as MISIA, Yumi Matsutoya(松任谷由実)and Mika Nakashima. The "Nemuri no Mori" video is why I bought the album that the song ended up on, "Shipbuilding", released in 2003. It's a groove-rich disc with contributions from Yuming and J-Soul singer Bird.

This is my other favourite of the album, "Taegatakumo Amai Kisetsu"(耐え難くも甘い季節...Unbearably Sweet Season). Sung by Miyuki Hatakeyama(畠山美由紀), a wonderful vocalist who had been with a jazz-bossa nova unit called Port of Notes until going solo in 2001, this is another song to enjoy a lazy Sunday in a cafe with a few friends.

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