Japanese, Reviews

Nao Matsushita, Japanese Actress and… Pianist?! (Review)

April 22, 2009 | | 6 Comments Share thison Facebook Nao Matsushita, Japanese Actress and… Pianist?! (Review)on Twitter

Some people are so talented it’s ridiculous. Nao Matsushita is not only a young television and film actress, but also an accomplished pianist. She studied piano at the Tokyo College of Music, and at the age of 24 already has already released three full-length albums and a number of singles. Sounds like the life to me!

Her latest album, pf, was released in Japan in February, and caught me totally off guard. This isn’t your everyday piano album, as it’s full of different styles that demonstrate Matsuhshita’s proficiency with the instrument. From ballads to jazz to even some more “gamey” tracks, pf will have something you’ll like.

Hit the jump to find out why I was blown away from the first track onwards.

You’ll likely be as impressed as I am with the opening track, “F,” which is a bubbly piano piece with violins that sounds exactly like something Masashi Hamauzu would write. I kid you not, from the progression to the various accents, it’s pretty convincing. There’s even a solo piano version featured as the last track as a bonus. Unfortunately the other tracks on the album don’t continue in this style, but that’s not to say it’s not good, because it certainly is.

“Raindrop (With Cello)” gets all emotional with a fleeting piano melody and legato cello notes, but “夏の思い出” and “Sofa” quickly strike back and are a little more hopeful, sounding like appropriate backings for some of Ken Hirai’s love songs. A later track, “VILLEFRANCHE” incorporates full strings and woodwinds sections to create a huge sound, and the ascending melody is absolutely beautiful.

Pieces like “Carnival Night” and “Ceu Azul” take the album in a different direction, the first being a swingin’ jazz track complete with an upright bass and a drumset and the second being a soothing bossa nova composition. Next, “Balloon,” starts off with a melancholic violin segment, but quickly moves into tango territory with an accordion, rapid violin notes, and of course, Matsushita’s piano work. It actually had me thinking of some of Kim Junsung’s work from Granado Espada at times with its European sound. “Voce” changes it up yet again, working in bagpipes for a distinctly Celtic experience. As the longest track on the album, it’s a memorable one with a fantastic melody.

The album booklet is littered with pictures and extensive credits listing each performer for each track. And it’s all in English. I had never heard of Nao Matsushita before checking this album out, but I’m glad I did. The variety featured on this album is sure to please listeners, and if you’re like me and enjoy a lot of different styles, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t check this one out at CD Japan or Play Asia. She’s still young, and has a lot of years ahead of her, so I’m certainly looking forward to what she does next.

Are you a fan of piano music in general? Do you know any crazy talented people who are seemingly able to do everything like Nao Matsushita, and are you as jealous as I am?

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