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The second album from Cantaro Ihara is finally here!
Deftly weaving everything from 70’s soul to AOR to city pop into his sound, Cantaro Ihara makes pitch-perfect groove-forward pop music. With high praise from DJs both in his native Japan and abroad, this second album is sure to be killer!
With a knowledge of music unbound by genre, recent years have seen Cantaro Ihara’s star steadily rising. Whether he’s compiling music for DJ Bars, providing commentary for international artists, or releasing 7-inches that sell out on pre-order, it’s clear that the young musician is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with in Japan’s indie music scene. In the two years since his first full album C, Ihara has leveled-up, and Portray makes the clear from beginning to end.
From a Japanese-language cover of free soul legend Weldon Irvine’s “I Love You” (the original 7-inch led to intense bidding wars after heavy radio play in both Japan and abroad) and the Ihara original “Twiny”, the lead singles are already off to the races. Gripping the hearts of crate diggers worldwide, it seems predetermined that Ihara’s newest album would be funky, soulful, and mellow. Yet Portray manages to remain shockingly fresh, without any of the obvious tropes that have threatened modern soul. A feature from Japanese trumpeter Yusuke Sase on “Baby So In Love” catapults the song into neo-soul territory, bringing a new twist to a timeless sound. Meanwhile, a feature from Bialystocks keyboardist Go Kikuchi on “Yoru no Nagare” (The Flow of the Night) sees one of Ihara’s most instantly iconic melodies played with a gentle sophistication that could move you to tears in one moment, and have you two-stepping the next.
With a history of selling out vinyl on pre-order and intense bidding wars, I’d say it’s clear that Cantaro Ihara is not just one of Japan’s most promising musicians, but one that continues to grip the hearts of record lovers everywhere. His second full length album Portray has everything there is to love about him. Mellow soul and funky grooves are aplenty – but I can’t say the same for stock! Make sure to get your copy of Portray on limited edition vinyl while stock lasts!
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