Kitamura had been the go-to keyboardist on the domestic Japanese independent scene for some years, before his infectious EP on Em Records, where he re-jigged the Thai hit The Countryside Is Great, which finally exposed him to an appreciative audience in the west. Tucked away on the twelve’s B side, nestled his duo with mmm, an ethereal take on George McCrae’s Rock Your Baby. This session germinated into a writing and playing duo, blossoming in late 2019 with their CD release Chasing Giants, on Kitamura’s own label, Bubblingnotes.
They unveiled this set on a short European tour. On stage, Kitamura’s reserved but tight-as-a-drum organ and synth rhythms hinting his love for Jackie Mittoo and maybe a whiff of Jimmy Smith, but surely hammering out his own sound. mmm playing obtuse hooky riffs, with understated yet confident melody, apparently her influences range from Tara Jane O’Neil to Kaji Meiko, we also detect the breathy spirit of Blossom Dearie.
Released in a very short run on wax, the project is a refreshing disc, brimming with intimacy, warmth and rocking rhythms. A feast for a keen listener, splicing molecular elements of folk rock, pop, dub, funk and jazz influences, yet somehow remaining completely unique.
Pressed in Japan by Toyokasei, comes with insert. Last few copies.