Saturday, March 20, 2010

Seba Jun aka Nujabes, Rest in Peace

photo by yosuke moriya. kamakura, summer 2009

Some of you may have heard that Jun Seba aka Nujabes died last month in a car crash. When I first heard this news, via text by Jeff in the early morning, i couldn't accept the reality of it. hours later, i look up the news, and confirm that indeed nujabes had been in a fatal car accident. i never knew i could be so sad to have to say goodbye to someone who i had never met. nujabes really reached out to his audience, to me, through his music, and put his soul into his work. In commemoration, i just wanted to share a bit of my experience with nujabes and the memories he has left with me.

I was introduced to Nujabes toward the end of 04' by a cherished friend, and have brought his music everywhere with me since. I was a sophomore then. I had just spent the previous year bouncing all around the hip hop scene in Washington State, neglecting my academics. I ended up doing poorly in school, so my mother decided she would start staying at home and watch over me. It was pretty hard for me to find my movements so limited, but i found myself lots of books, video games, cartoons, and music kept me entertained for the most part during my house arrest, and I got my first taste of Nujabes. this was the song that got me to start saying "chill" all the time.

Aruarian Dance - Nujabes - Departure

I did some quick research and found out the song was from an OST for an anime, Samurai Champloo. Some key words in the description of this anime include Samurais, breakdancing, and hip hop. What more could a high school boy ask for? So I pull up the first episode, and this is what I saw.

Battlecry - Nujabes (feat. Shing02) - Departure

I was already drooling before the episode started. I absolutely love all the music that is used in the series, and after some more digging, discovered a couple other artists who nujabes worked with, fat jon, tsutchie, and most notably Shing02, the MC in the video above. It was 2004, so I had a few years of nujabes releases to catch up on. I started looking at some earlier albums, and found that in before doing Battlecry for Samurai Champloo, Shingo02 and Nujabes also collaborated on a series called luv sic. Here's part 1&2:

These were on Hydeout Productions 1st Collection.

I also found he produced a mixtape, ristorante mixtape, of some really amazing artists. Here are a few artists I ended up looking into and continue listening to and enjoying today.

Wolf Drawn - Emancipator - Soon It Will Be Cold Enough

Choking You - Prefuse 73 - One Word Extinguisher
[Scott Herran aka Prefuse 73 just put out a new project under the name Risil]

Make You Feel That Way - Blackalicious - Ristorante Mixtape

Tricky Tricky - Royksopp (So & So Remix) - Junior

There are many other amazing artists on this mix. Check it out if youre feelin it. The following year, he released an absolutely amazing album, a common favorite amongst many. You might imagine just how geeked I was when I saw luv sic pt 3 on the tracklist.

luv sic. pt 3 - Nujabes (feat. Shing02) - Modal Soul

This is my favorite beat in the luv sic series. and i relaly dig all of Shing02's verses. If you listen to anything in this post, you should listen to this trilogy. Anyway, I know, I cheated and skipped the first track....but I went back! Here's what I found.

Here is probably the most universally enjoyed track in my own experience. Probably was the most common first track I play for people when introducing nujabes.

Feather - Nujabes (feat. Cise Star and Akin from Cyne) - Modal Soul

The most amazing thing about this album for me was that it inspired me to look into the MCs on his label, and some of their work that nujabes produced under his own label, Hydeout Productions.

Home Sweet Home - Substantial - To This Union a Son was Born

Bullshit As Usual - Pase Rock - Bullshit As Usual

The second semester my senior year in high school was a really insane time in my life. I had run away from home, slept in the streets of seattle, started getting my rejections and acceptances to colleges, dated my only true high school sweetheart and got dumped within a few months. My life was quite a rollercoaster. Some time amidst all this, I picked up Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection. There were some real gems here...

Winter Lane (Remix) - Nujabes - Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection
[The original is on Modal Soul Classics]

This song leaves me feeling very nostalgic and blue. Many of nujabes's music does this to me, and i love it.

After Hanabi (Listen to my Beat) - Nujabes

I brought all these tracks to Duke with me, and when people would chill in my room, i would just bump nujabes all the time. Soon, many of my friends were hooked too. By next semester, I had a friend telling me his brother was bumpin nujabes in a cafe in Boston and spreading his name. Everyone had their own favorites too. I still remember Martin pointing out this beauty for me. In the anime, it's used in episode 11, my favorite episode. i know, i'm corny.
Counting Stars - Nujabes

I didn't expect that so many people i would meet during that year would dig nujabes with such enthusiasm. for all of freshman year, my closest of friends and some more took nujabes everywhere with us, and rocked his tracks hard. In our rooms, in the showers, outside on the blackwell bench, wherever. Ananth and I even carried him on our phones. I still walk past some friends who will brighten up as they see me and say "i'm listening to nujabes right now!" And i still have people asking me "Who's this? This is really good!" and proceed to ask me to spell out his name for them.

For a while, basically sophomore year, I started getting into a lot of different music, largely introduced to me through friends here. I started getting to lots of indie, electronic, dance, and jazz music, thanks to some good friends like Pronoy and Serena who introduced some really great artists to me. Then, that summer I was spent my time in Durham with a friend of mine, Pilnik aka Big Bear, when nujabes released a new album! But we'll come back to that in a moment. I found some refreshed interest in nujabes and started digging around nujabes's collaborators, and found some amazing things. I learned that Cise Star, one of the MCs on feather, had done some work with another label, Project Moonscircle. Everything about this label is pretty effing amazing and epic.

Glen Porter and Robot Koch are both downtempo hip hop artists. I love how both of them develop the their songs throughout both these tracks. Robot Koch also does some really great dub work. 40 winks is another hip hop artist with some of the slickest beats i have ever heard.

Um - Glen Porter - Silent in Truth

101 - Robot Koch

Wizardry - 40 winks - The Lucid Effect

Last semester, I picked up the latest album released by Nujabes that I have, released in 09'. The title of the album is a pretty accurate description of what goes on here. I'll leave you with one last track from this compilation.

Departure - Akira Kosemura - Mellow Beats, Friend's & Lovers

arigato seba-san.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Blu - Silent

I dreamed of this last november. sometimes it's nice to be blue, especially having room to breathe.