Souki Urakami

September 29 2021


In picking songs based solely on their appeal to him, Souki Urakami demonstrates his far-ranging tastes across the musical spectrum. 

Daydream for just a second and the music of Souki Urakami can transform bewilderingly. His songs flow from dramatic orchestration to agile jazz, rapid breakbeats to sampled nature recordings; conducting experiments that play with the possibilities of pop music. 

Ongaku to Mitsudan [Music and Private Conversation] is to date Urakami’s sole full-length work. Released in October 2020, it’s an odyssey of orchestrally-influenced pop that, within a half-hour, manages to display his preference for unusual time signatures, overdubbing/multi-tracking and reharmonization. 

On that first record, Urakami’s music was so packed with ideas that it could feel somewhat disorienting. By contrast, his singles this year, “Hazeru shikisai” [Explosive Colours] and “Kanbina tōbō” [Sweet Escape], have seen his music grow more accessible. The grooves are bigger, the hooks catchier – but, crucially, his music remains as saturated with ideas as ever.  

Urakami’s playlist reveals the musical theatre-influenced side to his music, as well as deference to orchestral composers, art poppers and indie rockers. Urakami introduced his choices:  

“Here is a collection of songs that I personally feel are very beautiful (and easy to understand).”


Dandaya – “Vertical Voices LIVE” (2011)

Humorous, lovely, functional and unnervingly beautiful! It seems very strange to me why people are not discussing this wonderful song.


Arto Lindsay – “No Meu Sotaque” (1996)

The divergence between his career as a punk musician and a bossa nova artist is exciting. I love both aspects.


The Divine Comedy – “Island Life” (2010)

A track from one of my favourite albums. After the long introduction, the beautiful "Island Life" awaits you. I believe Neil Hannon is one of the most underrated musicians of all time.


Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez – “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?” (2013)

A genius structure. I feel like I am looking at a perfect piece of architecture.


Dori Caymmi – “Evangelho” (1972)

Virtuoso, without question.


Wunder Wunder – “Coastline” (2014)

This song always makes me want to go to the beach and dance like a madman.


Ferde Grofé – “Grand Canyon Suite: IV. Sunset” (1964)

I've never heard such beautiful harmony in any other song. The chromatic scales played by the strings are like the work of God.

Author: Ed Cunningham

Artist Tags: Souki Urakami

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