Kenji's music is a marriage of his boundless musical choices, and is drawn through a culmination of his unique personal experiences. From the rampant hills of Osaka to the towering landscape of New York City, the songs are born out of the vast changes of surroundings, and through an everyday reflection of life and self.
Kenji's pursuit of music began as an early teen when he felt an otherworldly connection to his sister's electric guitar that sat unplayed in his home. Actually, maybe it began at a much earlier age when he grew up listening to his family members (his mother, both of his older sisters, and his grandmother) play Chopin pieces every day on the piano.
Perhaps, Drawing Again features 9 picturesque instrumental songs written and arranged by Brooklyn-based guitarist/composer, Kenji Shinagawa. This collection features songs that represent autobiographical tales (BlueoraNge, Small Doses of Happiness, First Flight of the Cherry Tree Bird), fictional scenes (Mississippi Slow Dance, Still Frame), and a day in the life revelation (Hero's Plectrum, A Song I Thought I Heard).
Recorded at Symmetry Sound Studio in Brooklyn, NY.
Fall 2006 - Spring 2007.
Perhaps, Drawing Again
Kenji - Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Loops, Analog Noise
Austin McMahon - Drums, Percussion
Sam Howard - Upright Bass
Carmen Staaf - Accordion
Chris Shade - Clarinet
Brian Robertson - Wurlitzer
Recorded/Engineered/Mastered by Tommy Harron
Mixed by Tommy Harron and Kenji Shinagawa
Here is a review of the album from Silent Ballet:
When I first began taking guitar lessons many moons ago, my teacher asked me something that has stuck with me until this very day: “When you play guitar, what colors do you see? What scene do you see in your mind?” I’ve never forgotten that. To this day every time I hear any piece of music, I visualize different scenery and colors in my mind. It's kind of an odd experience, it’s almost like everything I listen to is a soundtrack to a movie.
When I first listened to Perhaps, Drawing Again by Kenji Shinagawa, I immediately pictured myself walking down a busy city street on a beautiful, clear day, with sparks of yellow and orange everywhere. The world was moving in slow motion, and I felt an odd calmness with all that surrounded me. For some strange reason, behind these city streets, I envisioned snow capped tall mountains, flying eagles, and a radiant sun. Oddly enough, after doing some research on Kenji, this vision seems to be fitting.
Originally from Osaka, but now residing in New York City, Kenji’s music seems to resemble a piece of his life. Its busy, yet calming acoustic melodies are layered with a pulsing quiet drum kit and intricate guitar lines. Beneath all that’s going on in Kenji’s music, there is a beauty and depth of something epic and serene like Kenji's homeland of Osaka.
Reminiscent of Sun Kil Moon, or even Balmorhea with its quite haunting melodies, Kenji knows how to grasp his listeners with his spectacular guitar playing. He has a very jazzy style, but somehow makes it slightly poppy at the same time with his catchy melodies. “Hero’s Plectrum” is one of the highlights of the album. This track starts with a catchy, bluesy, tremolo guitar-based melody that brings you into Kenji's vision of beauty. By the end of the track, the melody crescendos into a gorgeous array of musical sunlight.
Kenji isn’t the most interesting musician you’ll ever hear, but he certainly is a breath of fresh air. His music isn’t abrasive or overwhelming with overplayed guitar tracks or ambient noise. It's laid back, haunting, and makes you feel good. Perhaps, Drawing Again is like that first cup of coffee in the morning, a walk on a fall day, or watching the seagulls fly on the shore; familiar, yet never dull or boring.