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The final release from the Haruka Nakamura Piano Ensemble before they go on an indefinite hiatus, presented as a trilogy featuring newer versions of their older tracks and previously unrecorded pieces. Recorded at various concerts during their extended tours, Hikari captures the group’s delicate modern classical which has a timeless joy to it, think Efterklang and Penguin Cafe Orchestra string sections on long summer afternoons.

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  • CD £18.49
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  • / 2CD on Kitchen. Label, packaged in a hardcase box with 36-page book containing exclusive photos, liner and composer’s notes (In Japanese). Includes digital download for 2 bonus tracks
  • Includes download code

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Hikari by Haruka Nakamura Piano Ensemble
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4 people love this record. Be the 5th!
8/10 Jamie Staff review, 16 August 2017

For starters, this is the most lavishly packaged double-CD set I’ve seen in years; it took me at least 5 minutes to (carefully) prise the box open. Having navigated your way in, you’ll find two discs encased in a thick card wallet, complete with lavish, generously illustrated 32-page, gold leaf covered booklet. It’s a slightly intimidating introduction to this music before I even hit ‘play’ on the battered office review stereo.. But I’m knee-deep in this music now, and I can already tell it’s going to be a haunting one. A spiritually-enriching, cleansing one. I feel clean before I eat my lunch… Right, there’s a heck of a lot of music on this so I’d better get on with it.

Haruka Nakamura is kindly offering me an introduction to his Piano Ensemble; that’s Nakamura himself at the keyboard, leading: Araki Shin on sax and flute; Akira Uchida on Soprano sax; Rie Nemoto on violin and Isao Saito behind his drumkit. They make a joyful, harmonious noise together, live (CD one was recorded in concert on their Japanese tour, at the Sonorium in Tokyo, March of this year). The group of players made all this beautiful music in the name of World Peace and, presumably, hope. Expansive optimism tinged with melancholy -- as only musicians from this part of the globe can do -- arcs through this set of light-suffused instrumental hymns.

Hikari radiates brightness throughout; it’s impressive that such consistent purity of sound and preciseness of playing should happen on a record with such weighty, profound concerns: to remain in light, in stillness; at the centre of a storm. Calm, as seemingly all around you are busying and dizzying themselves. Whenever a flurry of woodwind has subsided, there’s Haruka’s sure fingers coaxing out a confident, practised melody of stillness.

A transcendental set that often dazzles and easily inspires. It might even inspire me to some level of belief.


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