Finally, His First Album
"At the tender age of twenty-five, while he was working part-time at an Italian restaurant in Tokyo's Kamata district, Kazuki Tomokawa released his debut record, fittingly titled Finally, His First Album. While he had already penned hundreds of songs, including his first single "Try Saying You're Alive!," written on a long train ride past fields and rice paddies, it was this recording that introduced Japan to one of its most unique musicians of the postwar era.
Each track, as record label exec Kiichi Takahara writes in the LP's liner notes, is not a song but a "flesh-and-blood human being," birthed by the singer-songwriter and the raw, guttural cries that would become a hallmark of his incomparable sound. These songs are lullabies for the lost, staring not into the void butas the fourth track declaresfrom inside it.
Multiple tracks are performed in Tomokawa's native Akita dialect, a distinct and highly regional vernacular of northern Japan seldom heard outside the prefectureand even more rarely heard in music.
Tomokawa's lyrics locate profound interiority in the rituals of everyday life, and are sung against sparse folk arrangements of tender, lilting chordsa prelude to the rock and electronic stylings to come in later years. A self-proclaimed "living corpse," Tomokawa wallows, whispers, shouts, and cries, yet still, through his existential doubt, asks to be heard."