Tomo Nakayama - "Fog On The Lens" CD PORCH006
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Tomo Nakayama is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter from Seattle, Washington. "Fog On The Lens" is his first solo album, made after nearly a decade fronting beloved Seattle chamber-pop band Grand Hallway, and composing for and acting in Lynn Shelton’s Sundance Grand Jury nominated film “Touchy Feely”.
In the spring of 2014, Tomo was invited to a residency at Seattle’s Town Hall. Given free access to the 92 year old Roman-revival style building, Tomo decided to use it as his own recording studio. Tomo embraced the literal concept of “residency”, recording alone at odd hours of the night in the empty hall, with no restrictions on time, and the freedom to wander down whatever paths the songs led him. In essence and in spirit, "Fog On The Lens" is a bedroom album created in a cathedral-sized room: Tomo used the main performance hall to write and record on their Steinway grand piano. The backstage green room became an isolation booth for guitars. The long resonant hallway in the basement with its haunting reverb was used to track the vocals. All of this recording was done with one USB microphone plugged directly into a laptop. Additional work was done on the road, in a tiny cabin in Wallace Falls, Washington, and at a small bed and breakfast in Portland, Oregon, all with the same spirit of resourcefulness and creativity necessitated by the bare-bones set up.
When it came time to mix the sessions, Tomo enlisted the help of producer/multi-instrumentalist Yuuki Matthews (of The Shins and Teardrops). Though it was the first time the two had made music together, Yuuki displayed an immediate and intuitive understanding of Tomo’s vision. In addition to taking the unusual step of mixing the tracks Tomo recorded onto analog 4-track cassette tape, Yuuki overdubbed his own wildly imaginative array of analog synthesizers and homemade keyboard sounds which heightened the album’s evocative, dream-like atmosphere.
"Fog On The Lens" finds Tomo pursuing a rawer, more playfully spontaneous and intimate sound than the dense, fully orchestrated sound of Grand Hallway. It combines elements of the acoustic and electronic, analog and digital, lo-fi and hi-fi, the urban and the pastoral. The past and future collide in a colorful, hazy collage. It bears the influence of Tomo’s favorite musicians like Arthur Russell, Bjork, Paul Simon, Cass McCombs, The Velvet Underground, and Ryuichi Sakamoto, yet exists in a world entirely of its own. "Fog On The Lens" is a quietly confident step forward from a restless soul, unafraid to follow his muse, wherever it leads him.