I was first introduced to Japanese percussionist and ambient producer Kazuya Nagaya‘s latest release Dream Interpretation (SCI+TEC) in October of last year. We premiered the video stream for the track titled ‘Mother Wading in the River’. I wrote that, “The track washes over you with sound and light. It is meditative and soothing, setting the listener on a trajectory of inner peace. If this track is any indication for what the rest of the album will sound like, I for one can not wait for its release.” In fact, I ordered the album, that’s how much it affected me. 

Just before the album’s February 7th release, we also published an album review written by our very own Will Pinfold. In it Will summed up the release perfectly, “Dream Interpretation is an odd, often beautiful album. Clearly a deeply personal, even cathartic work for its composer, to the listener it’s immersive and often soothing, but, as interpretations its pieces are mysterious rather than revealing. Although the dreams that inspired it are potent and vivid enough to have stayed with Nagaya for years, what he leaves us with are vague images and fragments as gnomic and obscure as dreams themselves; but as magical too.” 

We wanted to find out a little more about Kazuya Nagaya, so we asked him to pick three albums that have influenced him and his music. Check out his picks below.

Album is available here: https://kazuyanagaya.bandcamp.com/album/dream-interpretation

Arvo PärtARBOS (Released in 1977)

It was the year 1979 when he fled from the Soviet Union so this record was produced when he was still living in Estonia. It’s one of his earliest pieces in Tintinnabuli’s style and has a beauty and loftiness like church music. You might think that the music of Pärt is too melancholic and too simple, especially if you are young, but for some listeners like me his music is just supreme. I’ve been listening to his music since a long time ago and I have been greatly influenced, in many terms, by the way he creates silence lurking in his music. He taught me that silence is the biggest collaborator for a composer. Silence means not only actual silence but also psychological silence. When we listen to the deep well inside ourselves, we can find it. Now he is 85 years old and lives in his homeland. Still composing. He is old, but still creative. That fact encourages me a lot.

Carmine Coppola – The Godfather part II

The soundtrack for The Godfather Part II in 1974. The director is Francis Ford Coppola and the composer Carmine Coppola is his father. This record contains some of Nino Rota’s pieces from The Godfather and it’s much like a collaboration between them. These films have achieved success not only due to the great films themselves, but also the soundtracks are of epic proportions. For me, the word “soundtrack” means this record. There is also another soundtrack that affected me a lot from the movie, its called Pierrot Le Fou directed by Jean-Luc Godard, composed by Antoine Duhamel. In the film, when infant Vito Corleone arrives in New York by immigrant ship and looks up to the Statue of Liberty, the song ‘The Immigrant’ starts playing. When I was a child, I watched this scene on TV and was extremely impressed. I didn’t know how to describe my feelings but the music struck me deep. Music experiences in our childhood has a fervent impact on all of us, I suppose. It was less than 9 bars of main melody, but it imprinted on me in a moment and never went away, like a trauma. I will never forget this for the rest of my life.

Henryk GóreckiSymphony No.3 

There are several recordings on the same album with different musicians and conductors that I like, but my favorite composition is the one played by London Sinfonietta and sung by soprano Dawn Upshaw released in 1992. His style of composing is called Minimalism, the simplest melodies are repeated over and over and it’s just overwhelming when you listen to all those pianissimos and fortissimos run with emotions, it’s like immense waves. His style is also called Holly Minimalism since his music is full of loftiness, just like the music of Arvo Pärt. Last year Beth Gibbons, the singer of Portishead released a record in which she sang the soprano for Symphony No.3. This is also a beautiful one. Incidentally Björk sings one of John Tavener’s songs. It sounds like a stream that merges contemporary music with other genres, like rock music, something I have observed since the year 2000.

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