It doesn’t matter that you can’t understand a word that is sung (unless you’re fluid in Japanese) on Shugo Tokumaru’s third solo release Exit, his emotions shine through. Easy going lyrics on “Parachute” and “Button” whisper and urge you to stroll and love. There is a communal vibe expressed on “Sanganichi”, which my Japanese to English dictionary tells me means January 1 to 3. Even without the language barrier Shugo uses his voice as another instrument and there are tons of sounds to absorb on this one.
When listening you are tossed into a popcorn machine of piano, acoustic guitar plucks, flutes, strings, bells, synths and electronics of all stripes and color’s it’s impossible to identify them all. Bombarded by sounds and aural textures, Exit transports the listeners to a different realm of consciousness which can reach schizophrenic proportions. Backward tape flourishes and woodwind high pitches in “Clocca” boarder on seizure inducing. “Future Umbrella” and “D.P.O” could be soundtracks to new Wii releases with whistles and racing tempos. In the end simple joy is the overriding feeling with what is essentially a fresh take on a folk album making Exit an engaging listen, and I didn’t need my Japanese to English dictionary to understand the best song here “Hidamari” translates to sunny, Shugo told me.