“Looking back, Akira Ito’s artistic career began not in music but in acting. Born in Japan in 1945, he developed a prodigious ability to perform and a childhood acting career blossomed. However, as acting gigs dried up, actor/director Shintaro Katsu encouraged him to follow his steps into the music industry. With the rise of Western rock and soul music lighting up Japanese radio, Akira Ito stood to capitalize in the localized mid-60s “Group Sounds” craze by becoming a performing musician, joining touring bands across Japan fusing western and Shōwa-era pop styles.
Unlikely as it seems, Akira would segue a string of stints playing in American cover bands into backing up a slew of varied American artists that would come tour Japanese military bases. Aretha, The Jacksons, Stevie Wonder or James Brown. Those were a few of the big names Akira would play alongside.
But Akira’s musical interests changed throught his life experiences and travels, up to the point when he knew exactly what he wanted to do (without knowing how to do it): healing music.
Akira understood that once he set up shop at Hitokuchizaka Studios in Tokyo the work of translating these ideas began in earnest. First he started his own record label, dubbing it “Green & Water’’ to promote a series of releases that would strike a more organic tone, envisioning a series of Japanese Environmental Music records. Marine Flowers would be one of four self-penned albums on the label dedicated to esoteric symbolism like “Hopi Prophecies”, “Prayers”, and the “Four Corners Of Water”.
Fladked by more than a phalanx of analog and digital synthesizers from Roland, Korg, and Moog, Akira would dedicate this release to those waters of Palau. Here he would largely improvise on scratch ideas he had in mind, creating a musical base for tracks like “W・A・T・E・R”, “Dancing Spirits’’, and “Life Goes On” that he’d let invited friends and gifted musicians, like violinist Takashi Toyoda, the late Japanese drum giant Shuichi “Ponta” Murakami, and others contribute their own ideas afterward.”
‘Marine Flowers’ is out on the 17th of December.