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Leo Takami
Next Door

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$23.00 USD
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Adroit jazz guitar, prog rock fantasia, and Japanese environmental music all rest comfortably behind Leo Takami's Next Door. The follow up to the acclaimed Felis Catus & Silence, Next Door finds Takami ruminating on passages — of time, seasons, consciousness. Through music, Leo contemplates daily events and finds beauty in ordinary moments. He also seems to be questioning the value of being stuck in the world, allowing his mind to wander towards something beyond it. His music is earnest, deeply personal and introspective, and is sort of akin to Rousseau’s Reveries of the Solitary Walker or Kenji Miyazawa’s Night on the Galactic Railroad.

On “As If Listening” Takami takes inspiration from a Van Gogh art show organized chronologically, articulating the sense of “enlightened resignation” that is intrinsic in the act of creativity. “Beyond” is a dream of otherworldly nostalgia, a watercolor of past lives. His music is a hazy cinema of memory, the soundtrack to a cherished memory that may have never really happened, but still radiates in the mind like the sun on an unusually warm winter day. 


“Come for the chill, clear ECM and Windham Hill guitar tone, find yourself suspended upside down and weightless… 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 for The Shlf

Aquarium Drunkard
"The title track takes a surprising turn with an almost power-pop synth line, before falling into a lighter, more whimsical piano and bass vista with glistening chimes, dashing strings, and wintry, new age bliss. Sure, Takami is having a bit of schmaltzy fun here, and if it maybe feels like he’s sometimes being cheeky about the nostalgic holiday thing, well, that’s kind of what it’s all about, isn’t it?" – C. Depasquale

HHV Mag (DE)
"...his pieces seem as if they were made for the late sunny days of the year because they have an inherent gentleness that borders on naive, which allows no turbulence, only contentment."
– Maximilian Fritz

Spectrum Culture
"If you didn’t know any better, you’d probably assume Next Door to be an archival release from sometime between the mid-‘80s to the early ‘90s. Blending the airy synthetic textures of New Age and the plump, limpid guitar tone of that era’s smooth- and lounge-adjacent fusion jazz, Takami has created a detailed, deep and loving homage to a genre that, in its homeland, was mostly fodder for jokes. Takami takes it seriously while still having fun, and finds a surprising emotional core amid the breezy melodies and supple solos.” - Reed Jackson

Pitchfork, Scored Review, 7.7, by Sadie Sartini Garner
“His willingness to plainly state his emotional intentions without pandering or infantilizing is refreshing, as if he’s giving the listener permission to explore the complexities of feelings that once seemed easy to understand: You have no idea how interesting happiness can be… On the lengthy lead he plots through “Winter Day,” he plays like he’s reading out loud from Dickens—he’s steady, precise, letting the notes themselves convey the meaning rather than the way he’s voicing them… Over and over again on Next Door, Takami recontextualizes the familiar, returning us to truths whose universality made them cliches in the first place. The stars don’t shine any brighter here; you’re just seeing them through clearer air.”

Interview with Fifteen Questions
"[Takami on sound, space, and performance] The essence of Japanese spatial beauty lies in the contrast between light and shade. Therefore, in my performances, the performer becomes part of the light and shade in the dimly lit room, and only the sound echoes ethereally.”

Track List


A1. Letter (0:50)
A2. As if Listening (6:48)
A3. Beyond (6:08)
A4. Winter Day (6:59)
B1. Road with Cypress & Star (1:57)
B2. Spring Snow (5:33)
B3. Next Door (7:47)
B4. Family Tree (6:04)


All Music composed and performed by Leo Takami. Mastered by Taylor Deupree. Artwork and design by Robert Beatty.

© 2023 Unseen Worlds

About Leo Takami

  • Leo Takami
  • Born in Tokyo in 1970, He started playing guitar at the age of 14. He studied guitar and music theory from guitarist Hideaki Tsumura from Berklee College of Music. He has been producing music with his roots in jazz, classical music, ambient music, and gagaku.

    In 2012, the album Children's Song was released from the label Flavour of Sound in Tokyo. In 2017, released the album Tree of Life from the California label, Time Released Sound. In 2020, released the album Felis Catus and Silence on Unseen Worlds in New York