Self Production Note


Kazuaki Iwamoto

Soon after Yoshinari Nashiki (Nash Studio's Music Production Advisor) commissioned me to create an album, the COVID-19 epidemic broke out. As a musician, I had lost direction under those new and challenging circumstances and for days, I didn't know what kind of music I should make.

"Iwamoto-Kun, go ahead and make whatever you want," Nashiki told me.

Then, I'll make this very situation into music, I said to myself. So, I decided to leave the production to take its course. Usually, when I feel overwhelmed at work, I go out, expecting a change of scenery to change my mood or to have a drink with my friends. However, I wasn't allowed to do such everyday things under the circumstances. Thus, although I was feeling down, I ended up letting my emotions take over. Then I found myself field-recording actual sounds in my room, capturing the environmental sounds of my daily life, including my voice. I put in those sounds that surrounded me, which I wouldn't have used otherwise, wherever I felt inspired to do so and where I felt it was right for the album.

This album is a diary of my life in 2020, raw and brutal.

1. life discolorment
Nashiki, the producer, combined two pieces into this one track, making a signaling phrase that appears in the first tune and remains until the end of the resulting commixture. The overall sound quality transforms into something deeply discomforting, depicting a chilly scenario of peaceful days eroded by mounting anxiety.

2. life infection
Viral infection, its eeriness, and the speed at which it spreads. At the time, like everyone else, I had insufficient knowledge of the virus, so I let the music depict a vague picture of bacteria as seen through a microscope.

3. void square
Umeda, Osaka, usually crowded with people, became deserted. During the declaration of the state of emergency, they closed the stores, and one day, I saw no one walking on the main street, as if I was living in a bad dream. The original tentative title was "Umeda Dystopia," from which the album's title was derived. I put in the pre-pandemic bustle of the city near the beginning.

4. room guitar for no bars
I could not go out and drink, so I often played the guitar while drinking in my room. I recorded the sound of a can of whiskey and soda being poured into a glass with ice and put it on the track.

5. home cooking for no diners
I cooked and ate at home because I wasn't allowed to eat out. So, once again, I recorded and inserted my cooking noises. For example, the sounds of cutting vegetables and frying them in the kitchen.

6. house cleaning for no reason
I bought a sponge product called a "Melanin Cube," which declares itself to be the best product for cleaning the bathroom in its capacity to remove an unusual amount of stains. The detergent’s foam proved efficient in removing any mold and dirt. The smooth cleaning process gave me the image of a virus being instantly defeated. I worked on the image with the actual sound of scrubbing the tiles with the bubbles that I captured by myself in the bathroom.

7. bedroom dance for no outings
Confined for months, I began to dance in the bedroom, imagining my tiny room as a dance hall. I was getting desperate, but I succeeded in forcing myself to believe this fantasy and get excited to a considerable degree, as is undoubtedly apparent on this track.

8. sleep apnea for no motion
To stop breathing in your sleep is a scary thing. This new syndrome told me that I had become affected both mentally and physically at this point, which I suspect was due to a lack of exercise. The wildly strummed guitar expresses erratic breathing and the occasional torpor that I must have suffered in my sleep.

9. midnight sprint for no relief
This music is a helpless cry from the depths of my heart. I couldn't stand it any longer. I found myself running in the middle of the night, heading nowhere. It was quite hard to record the sound of my running footsteps with a handheld recorder.

10. life confusion
Nashiki suggested mixing two separate songs ("A Radical and Chaotic Tune" and "A Peaceful Prayer-Like Piece”) into this one complex finale. In the middle, fragments of the preceding pieces are interspersed and its effects are like my life flashing in front of me. Amid a global pandemic, I was stuck in a difficult situation, both as a human, and as a musician, and this last track brought my 2020 diary to a close very much there, finding myself still struggling in a quagmire.

Kazuaki Iwamoto (Musician / Composer)