Loads of new releases since last time. Ryuichi Sakamoto has a new solo album out, his first for eight years, although he's keeping the title and cover a secret at the moment, apart from the rather strange code . It's out on both CD and double vinyl LP. There is also another Sakamoto Year Book out, this time 1980-1984, and another in the Commmons:Schola series of tracks chosen by Sakamoto, the latest is of Japanese pop music. If that's enough he also turns up as composer and guest on an album by Shuta Hasunuma and U-Zhaan.
The final work of Isao Tomita, who passed away last year, gets released in March too. Dr. Coppelius is described as a 'Space Ballet' and was recorded live in Tokyo in November last year. You can watch a video here.
Makoto Kubota has produced a very nice new album by Mariko Hamada called Town Girl Blue and has released another of his Ambient Bali albums.
The extraordinary group that is Shibusashirazu have released their first album for four years, and you can listen to a track here. Another unclassifiable group, Pascals feature on the new album by Japan's 'Screaming Philosopher' Kazuki Tomokawa. Here's a short video of them recording.
Onto traditional music, and there are two albums of koto. Gaho Takahashi recorded hers in Paris and is rather beautiful, while Mana Yoshinaga's Rin-Ring is a mixture with western instruments. Meanwhile one of the great shakuhachi players, Kaoru Kakizaki, has released a fantastic new album with foreign guest players.
From Amami island, one of my favourite singers, and who we also have the pleasure to work with, Rikki has a new album out and very good it is too. You can watch an album trailer here. There is also a new album from veteran Amami singer Ikue Asazaki. While from Okinawa, Kazufumi Miyazawa has compiled an album of the best of the younger singers and artists from the island.
From 1970s Thailand is an album of traditional morlam, which you can listen to, and two albums, Volume 1 and Volume 2 from Thai pop/funk legends, The Impossibles. There are two albums from Vietnam that mix traditional with modern influences including by the much touted Mat Troi Do, or Red Sun Band, worth a listen. Finally, an album by Burmese singer Ni Ni Win Shwe, again a mix of traditional and contemporary sounds.