An excerpt from Soul Time in Tokyo, 2019

Events Mixes Soul Time in Hawaii

It's been gratifying to return to Japan each year since starting Soul Time in Tokyo in 2016 in collaboration with Kakubarhythm (big mahalo to Jun "JxJx" Saito for making it happen).

Earlier this year we stepped foot again in Tokyo Cultuart by Beams, the art gallery space on the third floor of Beams' flagship location in Harajuku. The event kicked off a weekend filled DJs and live music — first here on a Friday evening, then at CITAN for an all-day Saturday party. Maryanne Ito and guitarist Gilbert Batangan joined the Soul Time series for a solid weekend of positive energy, good fun and great music.

Here's an excerpt from that Beams set, with myself and Hideki Yamamoto on the turntables, later accompanied by Maryanne Ito at the very end. By now, I don't recall much from the set two months ago. But there were two things that stuck out: a snap decision to not play the Haruko Kuwana version of "A Million Stars" and instead bring in Mackey Feary's original.

And, at the very end our of set, inviting Maryanne to sing one of her originals, "Serendipitous", over the beat that inspired the tune (produced by Freddie Joachim), followed by another beat produced by local Dae Han for "I Met Your Rep). Earlier in the evening, the crowd absolutely loved her live set with Gil. They wanted more — a hana hou to the first hana hou.

(Sorry, her mic was pretty soft in this recording.)

Plus, back home in Honolulu, Mary and I had recently filmed a set together for Pau Hana Sessions, a video series that features musicians doing their thing while Punchbowl Coffee brews up black gold.

Plus, back home in Honolulu, Mary and I had recently filmed a set together for Pau Hana Sessions, a video series that features musicians doing their thing while Punchbowl Coffee brews up black gold.

Live recordings, as you know, can either do a standout job capturing the atmosphere of a performance — Donny Hathaway's LIVE album is one of my all-time favorites, which partly inspired my desire to produce Maryanne's Live at the Atherton album.

But live DJ set recordings aren't always so, and in retrospect can act more like background music or a radio broadcast than an engrossing experience for the listener. (I'm listening to the set as I type this post, partly as background music, but also to check quality lol.)

Hope you can catch us in-person at our next event — whether it's in Honolulu, Tokyo, or some other locale when people appreciate these tropical sounds just as much as we do.

I should mention that Soul Time in Tokyo also comprises art — after all, Tokyo Cultuart is a gallery — and this year's show, while small, remained relevant to the theme of connecting Tokyo and Hawaii. I had the privilege of showcasing some of my photographs taken here in Honolulu with a camera I purchased in Tokyo in 2018. It's a convenient and sturdy little Ricoh Auto-Half, a half-frame film camera that's easier to snap than your fingers.

These photos reflect how I see Honolulu, at times a lush landscape that beckons the feeling of some kind of paradise, but more often a small-scale urban jungle where concrete and unkempt landscapes fill our surroundings. It's not quite the postcard-esque images of Diamond Head most imagine. It's more about daily (still) life in Hawaii.

This time around, with the help of friends new and old, I gigged eight different times over the course of 3 weeks: 8hotel @ Fujisawa, Oppa-La Diner @ Enoshima, Beams and CITAN @ Tokyo, Captain Vinyl / CONTACT @ Shibuya, and Jazzy Sport @ Kyoto.

Surprisingly though (and probably because we were too busy having fun in music and with friends) the only set I was able to record was at Beams.

Hope you enjoy it.

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