Guitar maestro, Jason Kui, returns with Naka - his second studio album comprising of a diverse and exciting collection of songs that show off his eclectic prowess. His travels as a sought-after session musician have inspired his writing process for Nakaand his broader musical journey.
The album title is a Japanese word meaning “in between”; Jason has applied the meaning of the word to his own life and work in the form of balance and contrast. The album straddles both heavy and melodic music, light and dark, hard and soft, warm and cold, charting the desire for balance in his artistic, professional and personal life and absorbing Naka as a principle to live by.
Each track can be traced back to the geographical location of its origin - the surroundings that inspired the music and led to the creation of the songs we now have before us. The first single, Pixel Invasion, was influenced by the bright lights and neon surroundings of Japan, whilst on tour. Meanwhile, Splash! contains slivers of inspiration taken from a cold, grey day in Iceland back in 2018, where a visit to a waterfall set Jason’s creative juices flowing. The title track has its roots in Nashville - clearly audible from the country twang to the emotive track - a place that captured his imagination and the buzz of the countless music clubs and bars fired up his composing compulsion.
The backstory to each track demonstrates Jason’s absolute dedication to his craft and highlights how each tale is imbued with a little bit of storytelling magic. Of the track Games Brown (Hey!), Jason comments: “Funk music is always a big part of me. Especially 70’s funk. I was very fortunate to get to play with one of James Brown’s drummers, Erik Hargrove, when he was in Hong Kong a few years ago. Erik told me a story about how Mr. Brown always had two drummers on stage with him and it was like a game that he liked to switch drummers within a song, so the musicians called him Games Brown.”
To convey a specific mood or emotion without language is a natural skill of Jason’s, as evidenced on his debut release, Absence of Words. Embracing elements of modern metal, hard rock - and of course, never shying away from a ballad - Jason showcases an extraordinary talent and understanding of his craft. Taking his cues from masters in the field such as Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, he has the ability to bring his distinctive guitar-led music to a new generation of fans.
Although he writes and operates as a solo artist, he has acquired an impressive list of guest performers on Naka, among them drummer, engineer and producer, Anup Sastry (Jeff Loomis, Marty Friedman), and programmer Randy Slaugh (Periphery), who has Grammy nominated albums to his name. Not to mention the guitarists that were invited to contribute guest solos;
Andy James (Sacred Mother Tongue), jazz/fusion virtuoso Tom Quayle, Poh Hock (Native
Construct), and Jason’s own long time guitar hero, Andy Timmons.
However, his collaborative efforts were as diverse as his musical tastes when it came to rounding out the sound of Naka. Jason travelled to Beijing, China to record a twenty piece orchestra, arranged by Edgar Hung. He enlisted the talents of Canadian brass and horn players, arranged by Charlie Huntley. The international elements of Jason’s vision are not restricted to the audio, as he is undertaking an ambitious animation project with a Turkish visual artist to provide accompaniment to a particularly personal song on the album.
Continuing the theme of balance and contrast, Jason has created a personal anthology that charts his progression as a musician, and turned it into a project that rests on the shoulders of an international community of his own making.
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JASON KUI RELEASES VIDEO FOR 'SPLASH!'Mar 17, 2020
Guitar maestro, Jason Kui, has released the music video for his track Splash! - taken from his recent album, Naka. Splash! is just one of the songs inspired by his travels as a sought-after session musician that have shaped Naka and his broader musical journey. Naka was released onFebruary 14 and is available to order now. Watch the video for Splash! below.