John Lennon. Kate Bush. Nels Cline. They’ve all dabbled in what mainstream listeners consider to be “dark arts” (the avant-garde genre)…but only after becoming pop stars. And well after his mid-2010s tenure with Tokyo indie-folk-rock sensation Mori Wa Ikiteiru, guitarist-songwriter Takuro Okada has begun ascending into their ranks. Ever since he went solo, Okada, (ever equipped with his fully-loaded pedal board and vintage amplifier), has reconsidered what defines “pop” music other than commercial radio and stream numbers. Hell, he even took it a step further and dove down a discourse of what “music” is.
In that “post-modern pop” spirit, Takuro Okada shared his sophomore full-length Betsu No Jikan this past week. A far cry from his indie-rock roots, Betsu No Jikan guides you on a reflective six-song journey through first-rate improv jazz, mind-melting ambient soundscapes, exotic instrumentation, and an exciting touch of experimentalism. With the exception of the album opener (which covers Coltrane’s classic “A Love Supreme”) the record effortlessly lays landmark motifs based around natural landscapes, such as the sifting, cinematic late-A-Side opus,”Sand”.