I remember being blown away by the soundtrack for the anime Samurai Champloo…the show was great but the funky music is what pushed me to seek out the musicians. One of them, Japanese producer Jun Seba AKA Nujabes really stuck out with his classical yet new era style and harmonious sound. Not just in his mixing of traditional Japanese instruments but also in his approach to each song as a meal he fed to your ears.
Nujabes was one of the most influential artists I had ever listened to. His untimely death was a loss to those who really loved his ability. While he wasn’t able to finish his last studio album what was completed was released, and it’s a beautiful farewell to an inspiring musician.
Like his work in the past Spiritual State is a fusion of instrumental hip-hop and jazz -- having a downtempo sometimes somber yet an inviting and uplifting sound. The cool combination of piano, saxophone, and jazz flute mix well with the simplistic but rhythmic beats Nujabes produces.
Spiritual State does dabble in the “traditional” hip-hop flavor. Much like his previous albums Pase Rock, and Substantial lend their lyrical talents to a few of the tracks. The poetic flows of Pase and Substantial compliment Jun Seba’s production as if they were made for each other.
Nujabes was the producer I couldn’t get out of my head in college; he not only changed my musical tastes but how I decided to see the world. I’ve never felt more relaxed and at peace with everything then when I listen to his compositions. It’s not just the tone but also the feeling of the melody growing and as the music swells you get wrapped into each song.
An experimental musical mastermind that will be missed dearly: Spiritual State makes me miss times past and makes me look towards the future with hope -- I rank Nujabes among my favorite artists in any medium or form. It’s sad he’s gone but he didn’t leave without making his mark and I’ll always love the music he’s left behind.
Although not easy to come by I suggest seeking out Nujabes other works including my favorite album Departure from the Samurai Champloo official soundtrack.