Next Door cover

Next Door


As the M.C. Escher-like cover art of Next Door suggests, Japanese guitarist Leo Takami makes music with an illusory quality to it. His second album for Unseen Worlds revels in melodies that turn back on themselves and burrow deeper, or else plunge down curious new corridors. Come for the chill, clear ECM and Windham Hill guitar tone, find yourself suspended upside down and weightless. Pat Metheny, Steve Tibbetts, some George Winston, yet the music thrums like a Steve Reich miniature, or else a beloved Studio Ghibli soundtrack. “Winter Days” is neatly hummable, yet it keeps unspooling and leading you further and further away from the melody. “As if Listening” alternates between meditative lines and hurried turns, with skittering percussion, knotty piano lines, swells of synth, chiming vibes. But wait, is that a band moving behind him, or is everything synthesized and intricately layered by Takami himself? No matter, wait a few moments and another gorgeous portal will open to drop you elsewhere.

Andy Beta

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