"Hiroya has pioneered a sub-genre of world music that mirrors the multicultural make up of the ensemble" -The Asahi
"A Japanese guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto takes us to an impressionistic journey" -Boston Herald
"...chops, passion and warmth. Zealously recommended." -Jazz Review.com
"His music is earthy, organic and an amalgam of elements imported from diverse genres" -The Groove
"He delivers skillful and innovative guitar instrumental solos" -Folk Project
"...imparts a mood of piece and tranquility. -The Live Music Report
hClose your eyes, and imagine his fingers dancing across the strings. You can hear each instance. "@-Victory Music
gHiroyaTsukamoto plays with fluid mastery, pristine tone, and great warmth. " -Celine Keating (author / Acoustic Magazine / minor7th)
HIROYA TSUKAMOTO "Places" Disc Review
"Places" is a considerable departure for this talented transplant from Japan to New York, whose first solo CD, Solo, was a more cerebral offering. On these nine pieces Tsukamoto extends his abstract imagistic compositions to the land of folk, jazz, and world music. Teaming up with inspired percussionist, Satoshi Takeishi, Tsukamoto goes beyond the atmospheric in creating a landscape of riveting patterns and eclectic sounds that defy clear categorization. The CD begins strongly with the driving tremolo and chiming percussion on "Black Canyon," then shifts to a brooding, almost sinister, melody. The mood shifts abruptly with "Vuelta," an uptempo, somewhat conventional fingerstyle piece that again shifts musical direction, with the introduction of deep slow chords, before returning to its jaunty opening. "Another Great Day To Be Alive" could be from the American songbook, while "Confluencia," "Aiyanna," and "By the Sea," are variously quiet and contemplative, moody, and evocative. Other pieces reveal more jazz or Latin influences, such as "Cielo y Mar," which employs wordless vocalizing. Tsukamoto's playing shows a strong preference for elaborating on the possibilities of the individual note rather than on flashy technique; the gorgeous "Takibi" especially demonstrates his thick, luscious tone. One of the strongest pieces is "Mountain Song" with its propulsive rhythm and repetitive four-note refrain, which especially displays the almost telepathic communication between guitarist and percussionist. Taking the listener to uncommon sonic landscapes, Tsukamoto's "Places" is an unconventional album from a truly unusual talent.
HIROYA TSUKAMOTO "Heartland" Disc Review
Hiroya Tsukamoto's musical career began in his early teens when he took up the banjo and, shortly after, the acoustic guitar. During his college years in Japan, he became influenced by the South American Nueva CancioLn movement, stylistic notes of which are evident in "Heartland," the fifth recording to feature Tsukamoto on the guitar, and the first to prominently feature his vocal work. Some of the compositions in "Heartland" are languid, some are upbeat, and many feature original Japanese lyrics that are introspective, nostalgic, and deeply connected to the natural world. While American listeners may not understand the language, they will certainly find the melodies of the songs and the rhythms of the words as fluid, alluring, and engaging as Tsukamotofs playing itself. This artistfs abilities are especially highlighted in the solo instrumental compositions ("La Primavera," "Gemni Bridge," "Going to Durango," and the albumfs namesake, "Heartland") that are thoughtfully interwoven throughout the lyric songs and bookend the album in a neat prelude-postlude fashion. These ease the listener in and out of Tsukamotofs more contemplative vocal pieces, and afford the best chances to really appreciate his precision, movement, expressiveness, and dynamic playing.
(C) Ryan Fark (minor 7th)
INTEROCEANICO 3 "Confluencia" Disc Review
The overall character of InteroceaLnico 3fs first CD Confluencia is one of finesse and beauty. For the most part, this CD imparts a mood of peace and tranquility, despite its rhythmic motifs and pulse-quickening outbursts, as it takes you into its subtle world of sounds. InteroceaLnico 3 is the trio version of guitarist Hiroya Tsukamotofs 8-piece jazz/Latin (nueva cancion)/contemporary group who themselves have recorded only one CD thus far. The trio consists of Tsukamoto on guitar, Moto Futushima on bass and Franco Pinna on drums. The thirteen-track offering is a generous one with approximately 70 minutes of music. The three musicians work together flawlessly, creating a unified style.
Tsukamotofs guitar style is heavily classical, precise and clear. In some tunes, for example, gCarnavalito 18h and gBicicletah, Spanish and even flamenco influences become evident. Precision and attention to detail is a quality the guitarist shares with drummer Franco Pinna and bassist Moto Futushima, whose melodic playing on this CD is often virtuosic. An equal part of the trio, drummer Franco Pinnafs work is exceptional throughout with lots of fine cymbal and stick work. He is not a power drummer but neither is he a minimalist drummer. His solos in gCarnavalitoh and gSeventh Nighth are just two shining examples of his style. gEverlastingh shows off both Tsukamotofs beautiful playing and Futushimafs gorgeous fat bass tones, as do many other pieces for that matter. Two pieces that move in a different direction are gSouthh and gBrooklyn Boundh. gSouthh is more impressionistic with lots of open space. gBrooklyn Boundh, the second-last piece on the CD, exhibits an uncharacteristic darkness. With its introductory off-sounding clock strikes, hammering, scraping metal and loose string sounds it ventures into avant territory. At only two minutes, thirty-eight seconds, it was over too soon.The last piece on the disc, gTill the end of Timeh, moves back to more characteristic sounds with the beautiful guitar, bass and drum work of the trio clocking in at a more satisfying five minutes plus. Overall, this is a very fine CD of well-played and well-recorded music. Some of it is perhaps a little smooth for my taste. I do come away from my listening thinking Ifd like to hear a little less reserve or a little less repetition. Itfs hard to put my finger on it, because much of it I enjoyed immensely. Make no mistake, these are excellent musicians. reviewed by Joyce Corbett
5 questions with Hiroya Tsukamoto Posted on March 5, 2016 by Alli Marshall (Mountain Xpress)
Japanese-born musician Hiroya Tsukamoto is sometimes mistaken for a finger-style guitarist by those who havenft experienced his performance. In fact, although Tsukamoto usually tours as a solo act \ or as a duo with a drummer \ he explains that his show is ga mixture of guitar songs, vocal songs (Japanese folk music and originals) and poetry with audience participation.h But there is some truth to the finger-style classification, because Tsukamotofs introduction to music came in the form of bluegrass banjo. When he was 13, his father brought that particular instrument home one day, gbut there was no way to find a banjo teacher in my hometown in Japan,h Tsukamoto says. gSo I tried to learn from the only bluegrass record I had, Foggy Mountain Banjo, by Earl Scruggs.h The album by the North Carolinian proved to be a challenge because of Scruggsf renowned top-speed picking, gbut I just loved the music very much,h Tsukamoto says. His friends introduced him to the guitar, which he started playing guitar about a year later, gbut I still played banjo because no one [else had one], and I liked that fact.h
He talked to Xpress about his move to the U.S., his global influences and his newest project.
Mountain Xpress: Your bio mentions the South American musical and social movement Nueva Cancion. What attracted you to that sound, and is it something you incorporate in your current work?
Major in college, in Japan, was Spanish [and] one of my professors [introduced me to] Nueva Cancion. And I was in a group that played South American folk music. I felt that music is simple, but also deep. I am not sure that music directly appears in my current work, as I play the mixture of everything I like, but recently some of my audience from Chile asked me, after the concert, if I like Chilean music.
After studying at the Berklee College of Music, why did you decide to stay in the U.S. rather than return to Japan?
Because I thought there are still many things to learn in the U.S. not only in school, but also being in the real music scene and from musicians. Around the time I graduated I was focusing on jazz, so I moved to New York.
In what ways has living in New York changed your approach to music?
After I moved to New York, I met and played with many talented musicians from all over the world, and that made me think that I can write any style of music and they can play it very well.
I love the description, gCinematic Guitar Poetry.h What does that mean to you?
I was looking for a phrase for how to describe my music. When I played in North Carolina about three years ago, I asked my concert organizer how to described my music, and she came up with gCinematic Guitar Poetry.h I didnft intend to make my music cinematic, but maybe [because] I write most of my music when I travel, many people mention that it has cinematic vibe or traveling image thought it.
Are you currently working on an album?
Yes, I am writing new material now. At the concert, I overdub voice and guitar in real time and improvise, and I have been enjoying it as every time is different, so I want to incorporate those elements into my compositions.