SATO MOKA - Lukewarm

satomoka.jpg

If you’re about to listen to SATO MOKA’s album Lukewarm for the first time, I recommend you stop doing whatever else it is that you’re doing. This is not music to clean your house to, exercise, power through work or study. You shouldn’t even be on social media or browsing on your smartphone. Make some time, sit down, maybe even close your eyes. Or just stare out the window into space. An old café is the perfect place for this. Only takes 30 minutes. 

And prepare to be surprised.

Don’t worry, there will not be an assault on your ears. I’m not trying to get a reaction vid out of you. Rather, this is a wonderland that you’re entering, a little doll house with all sorts of small details that pop out of nowhere. Firstly, you hardly ever hear drums or bass. It’s either piano or acoustic guitar, and her vocals. Most of the time. Then you’ll suddenly hear little bits of things come and go, a keyboard glissando, accordion, castanets, horns, xylophone, a guy singing with a vocoder. Since everything is so minimal, when any of these elements appear, it really sticks out. You’ll even hear really small things in the background like a microwave or a door closing.

Style wise it’s also all over the place. The album’s opener “old young” sounds like a musical, perhaps “One” from A Chorus Line, “ひみつ” is like a French chanson, “Hello, Valentine’s day” has a very latin feel to it, “殺人鬼” has rolling drums and is kind of bluesy, and “April in my memory” could pass for an old jazz standard like “Dream a little dream of me.” In every case, it feels like you’re exploring a different compartment in SATO MOKA’s musical mind. 

When there’s more going on like on “殺人鬼” with all the kitschy sound effects, then her voice gets lost in the mix. It’s still cute and another angle for her creative talent, but she’s probably not ideal for the front of a rock band or pop group. That’s why the production generally gives her lots of space to fill by herself. She’s got plenty of character and fun ideas for us to enjoy as it is.

Just make sure to listen for them all.

Tracklist
1. old young
2. Lukewarm
3. あの夜の忘れ物
4. 最低な日曜日 feat.鶴岡龍(LUVRAW)
5. 2つのわたし
6. Hello,Valentine's day
7. Wonderful voyage
8. ひみつ
9. 殺人鬼 feat.入江陽
10. April in my memory

Royce Leong