mast top Japanese

Intrepid listeners and foolhardy innocents - welcome to my little circus o' sound! Here you'll find a selection of stuff featuring my playing. Rummage around and you may even find some stuff you dislike less than others. ;-) Be sure to turn your volume knob up to 11 à la Mr. Tufnell.

As you'll see (if you click the YouTube link above), I recently worked with Japanese songstress Maki Ohguro on her latest single "Anything Goes! (Ballad)," which is tied into a major anime/TV show over here. (Ohguro herself has been around a while, notching up several No.1 hits over the years.)

Though the promo video will likely make little sense without a passing knowledge of the TV show Kamen Rider (which has been running for over 40 years!), you may enjoy the souped-up antics of the Edinburgh-born bass player.

Incidentally, in a fit of inexplicable madness, I recently offloaded for financial recompense the lovely red and whilte Fender Precision that features in the video: I'm already regretting my cash-hungry folly...

Here, for your aural scrutiny is "Go The Distance," the song that scooped me second prize (a very nice Atelier Z bass) in the two-yearly "Best Players" contest run by Japan's Bass Magazine (with a big shout out to Ryuta Sakamoto!)

(A number of people asked if there was a transcription of the bass part -- so for those who expressed an interest, here you go!)

Signal path: MOON MBC-6 > EBS MultiComp > EHX Q-Tron > Line6 Bass Pod > Mac Powerbook G4 > Pro Tools 7 LE.

There's a fair bit of two-handed tapping contained in the track, and as the rules stated that the recording had to be made in one take with no overdubs it goes without saying that this wasn't recorded on the very first take! (By the way, the finalists had to play live, so there was no way to cheat!) Shame really... ;-)

You can read all about the contest and the final live event in the Dec. '09 issue of Bass Magazine. And if you're really keen, you can also spring for the Feb. '10 issue, which contains the winners' recordings. Enjoy!


An+ logo

An+ - "Own Way

I recently unearthed the very first track I recorded upon my arrival here in Japan...An+ was one of those a short-lived J-pop projects featuring a media-savvy muso-cum-manager and a cute young female protege who sang about three octaves higher than most dogs can hear!

While these kinds of acts are ten-a-penny over here, one lucky break can rocket the lucky hopefuls into the stratosphere. Sadly, success is usually based on the looks and all-essential ditziness factor of the young singer, who, if she's lucky will suddenly find herself a talk-show/variety show staple (where all she has to do it look cute and giggle).

It was a fun project while it lasted, and though a bunch of songs were recorded, nothing was ever officially released.

Anyway, here it is: "Own Way" by An+

Takahiro Haruta - "Next Life"

This 12-track, primarily instrumental CD is sprinkled with guitar-based pyrotechnics, occasional lush vocals, keyboards, brass sections and even the occasional low-end solo. I play on eight of the tracks, with 6-string bass maestro Atsuo Fukuoka strutting his inimitable stuff on the other four.

And, to add an extra layer of topping to an already cream- and vermicelli-laden musical cake, special guest Hiroshi Shibasaki (WANDS, Abingdon Boys School) contributes a couple of guitar solos.

Fans of instrumental guitar work by the likes of Steve Lukather, Michiya Haruhata and Joe Satriani will find plenty here to write home about.

For those interested, here's a rough mix of the second track on the album, "Advance," which features a mini solo outing from a certain bass player often seen hanging around in photos at the top of this page.... ;-)

Takahito Haruta CD
Amazon | HMV | Tower

Izumi CD

HMV | Tower Records | Amazon

Nitta Izumi - "Dear"

J-pop lovers! Crafted-melody aficionados! Slipshod bass-tomfoolery enthusiasts! Gather ye round, one and all, as I humbly announce that Nitta Izumi's new CD is now available at all good records shops across Japan.

Those of you further afield keen to cop these 11 tracks of whack (thanks Walter) can use the online services of HMV, Amazon or Tower Records to get your feverish paws on a copy.

Keen ears will even discern a couple of bass solos sprinkled among the cascading keyboards and soaring guitars. And, as an added bonus, Izumi has the voice of an angel!

What's not to like?!

If this CD doesn't get your toes smiling and your face tapping, then check your pulse - you're probably dead! ;-)

Trio Logic - "Rainy"

After much musical shilly-shallying and dragging of organizational feet, Trio Logic's new CD has finally hit not only the digital shelves of the Internet, but also the more tangible shelves of certain exclusive real-world outlets. These links will take you straight to purchase heaven:

Clips can be heard here:

2. Ashiato
3. Rainy

Listeners may also like to keep a close eye/ear on the keyboard player's atonal antics. God knows why, but the other members of the band thought it was a good idea to let the bass player loose on the ol' ivories. The fools! ;-)

Trio Logic CD
iTunes | Amazon | eMusic

Can You Feel It?

Gear used: Hohner Jack V, Line 6 Bass Pod. Think I only used 9 fingers on this one, though I do remember having to use my big toe at some point.

Comments: Style wise, kind of J-pop-meets-Craig David, who in turn has been listening to the B-side of a Jamiroquai tribute band's first single. (I like specifics). The producer's idea of a bass sound, was, as you'll hear, about the bassiest bass sound this side of planet Bass.

J.S. Bach - Invention No.1 in C

PDF logo

J.S. Bach - Invention No.4 in D min

PDF logo

J.S. Bach - Invention No.5 in Eb

PDF logo

Gear used: Yamaha TRB1006 bass (that sixth string sure came in useful), Line 6 Bass Pod, Pro Tools 7 LE.

Comments: Two-track recordings in which one track contains the treble-clef part, while the other play - predictably enough - the bass-clef part. Masterful studies in two-part counterpoint and how to fashion an entire piece from a simple motif. Someone asked me if I used a pick on these track; the cheek! It's all fingers, I even split a fingernail during the final part of No.5. And yes, it hurt

Much of Bach's music (and many other composers' works now in the public domain) can be downloaded for free from the Mutopia website.