• Murakami is opening a library featuring his 10,000+ record collection

    By | November 5, 2018

    With his vinyl, manuscripts, books, letters and personal items.

    Waseda University in Tokyo will establish a Haruki Murakami library institute, reports Japan Times.

    Read more: Take an interactive tour of Haruki Murakami’s record room

    The news was revealed during a press conference on Sunday 4th November – Murakami’s first in Japan in 37 years – where he announced he would be donating thousands of items to his alma mater Waseda.

    “It is a very important thing for me, so I thought I should explain clearly,” said Murakami. “I don’t have any children, and it would cause trouble for me if those materials became scattered or lost.”

    “After nearly 40 years of writing, there is hardly any space to put the documents such as manuscripts and related articles, whether at my home or at my office.”

    Waseda will create an international library, which will also include a study room with books and records.

    “I couldn’t be happier if (the centre) will help those who want to study my works,” he continued. “I hope it will be something that promotes cultural exchange.”

    Given how many musical references Murakami includes in his writing, the institute will offer an intimate view into the sonic inspirations behind his prolific body of work.

    Murakami is also hoping to organise a concert featuring his collection of vinyl records.

    Earlier this year, Murakami made his DJ debut on Tokyo FM to host his his first radio show.

    Head here to explore that show in detail.

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto’s BTTB album reissued on vinyl with liner notes by Haruki Murakami

    By | September 12, 2018

    Dream team.

    Ryuichi Sakamoto’s BTTB LP will be reissued for the first time – in a new 20th anniversary edition, this November via Milan Records, reports RA.

    Read more: An introduction to Ryuichi Sakamoto in 10 records

    Originally released in 1998, BTTB, which stands for Back to the Basics, features Sakamoto’s solo piano versions of 18 tracks including Yellow Magic Orchestra number ‘Tong Poo’.

    The remastered reissue contains liner notes by famed Japanese author Haruki Murakami, whose forthcoming book Killing Commandante will be released in October.

    As Murakami writes in the liner notes: “Personal and intimate music—somebody (an anonymous somebody) sitting alone in front of the school piano early in the morning, weaving a melody, exploring harmonies. Music that gradually fills a space with high ceilings that contains the wafting presence of rain.”

    “But music that leaves gaps where necessary. Once in a while, we need music like this and this way of being…no, perhaps all the time. We need it as much as we need hot black coffee at the break of dawn and a cat napping next to us in the afternoon.”

    In August, Murakami also hosted his first radio show, where he discussed writing, running and records.

    Earlier this year, Milan records released async Remodels on vinyl, which reimagined Sakamoto’s async – one of our favourite albums of 2017.

    A 2xLP version of BTTB will also be released in 2019.

    Listen to ‘energy flow’ ahead of BTTB‘s November release, and check out the track list below.

    Tracklist:

    1. opus
    2. sonatine
    3. intermezzo
    4. lorenz and watson
    5. choral no. 1
    6. choral no. 2
    7. do bacteria sleep?
    8. bachata
    9. chanson
    10. distant echo
    11. prelude
    12. sonata
    13. uetax
    14. aqua
    15. energy flow
    16. snake eyes
    17. tong poo
    18. reversing

  • Haruki Murakami discusses writing, running and records on his one-off radio show

    By | August 6, 2018

    Listen to a curious selection of the author’s favourite tracks, including Donald Fagen, The Beach Boys and Joey Ramone.

    Haruki Murakami has made his DJ debut, as his pre-recorded 55-minute show, Murakami Radio: Run & Songs, aired last night (5th August) on Tokyo FM.

    Read next: Take an interactive tour of Murakami’s record room

    For the show, Murakami selected ten tracks he enjoys running to, using them as starting points to discuss his approach to writing.

    As AP News reports, Murakami said: “Rather than learning storytelling technique from someone, I’ve taken a musical approach, while being very conscious about rhythms, harmony and improvisation. It’s like writing as I dance, even though I don’t actually dance. For me, writing tends to be a very physical process, and that’s my style. If you think my books are easy to read, perhaps we have something in common musically.”

    While Murakami’s fabled record room has upwards of 10,000 records and CDs, the author chose to focus on music contained on iPods he uses when running, each of which contain thousands of tracks. But anyone expecting an education in esoteric jazz would have been surprised instead to hear a selection of cover versions, easy listening tracks and a left-field rom-com soundtrack.

    Documented on the Murakami Radio website, his show began with the observation that it may have been the first time many of his readers and fans had ever heard his voice.

    He opened with Donald Fagen’s ‘Madison Time’, before diving into a selection of running music, for which Murakami insists rock with a simple, consistent rhythm is best. He started with Brian Wilson’s ‘Heigh-Ho / Whistle While You Work / Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)’ from the Beach Boy’s In the Key Of Disney album, and Beach Boys’ ‘Surfin’ USA’.

    He also played King Pleasure’s ‘D B Blues’, ‘Sky Pilot’ by Eric Burdon and The Animals, (which he admits he likes to sing along to in the car with the roof down), Joey Ramone’s ‘What A Wonderful World’, ‘Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ by George Harrison, an arrangement of ‘Knockin ‘On Heaven’s Door’ by Ben Sidran, and the Hall & Oates’ cover of the O’Jays’ ‘Love Train’ from the soundtrack to sci-fi rom-com Earth Girls Are Easy.

    His final choice was a Helmut Zacharias violin-led cover of The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’ from easy listening compilation On The Rocks. Quoting Sly & The Family Stone’s Sly Stone, he said: “I am making music for everyone, I want to make music that is understood by everyone, even idiots, so that no one is stupid anymore.”

    Murakami also answered a handful of questions sent in by fans, one of which asked what music he would have at his own funeral. According to AP News, Murakami said he would “rather go quietly”.

    Listen to a playlist of the ten tracks below and explore the show in more detail here.

    Murakami’s radio playlist:

    Donald Fagen with Jeff Yong & the Youngsters – Madison Time
    Brian Wilson – Heigh-Ho / Whistle While You Work / Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life for Me)
    The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA
    King Pleasure – D B Blues
    Eric Burden & The Animals – Sky Pilot
    Joey Ramone – What A Wonderful World
    George Harrison – Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
    Ben Sidran – Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    Daryl Hall & John Oates – Love Train
    Zacharias – Light My Fire

  • Haruki Murakami making DJ debut on Tokyo radio station

    By | July 24, 2018

    Sharing records and personal stories on Murakami Radio.

    Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has recorded a DJ mix for Tokyo FM, reports The Mainichi.

    Read more: Take an interactive tour of Haruki Murakami’s record collection

    Though this is the first time he has recorded a public mix and radio show, Murakami’s passion for music dates back to before he became a writer, when he ran a jazz bar in Tokyo with his wife.

    To wit, in his study alone, Murakami boasts a sizeable collection: “I almost always work listening to music. There are about 10,000 vinyl records; I haven’t counted the CDs. These records here are mostly jazz.”

    “Novels are something you read by yourself, and the radio is, for the most part, something you listen to by yourself as well,” shares Tokyo FM’s executive planner Hiroshi Nobue.

    “In that they are both forms of one-on-one communication, I thought he would have an affinity to radio, so I proposed that he do a program with us.”

    Nobue then invited Murakami to visit the station, tactically placing records and turntables in the studio that he thought Murakami would enjoy.

    “We usually don’t have those things lying around, but we did some research on what Mr. Murakami liked, and put them there before he came,” Nobue confessed.

    Nobue recorded him chatting about the records, which lead to the idea for Murakami hosting his own show.

    Broadcasting on the 5th of August, and clocking in at 55-minutes, Murakami Radio: Run & Songs features him sharing memories of songs and explaining their backstories.

    Head here for more info on Murakami Radio ahead of its broadcast on the 5th August at 7pm Tokyo time.

  • Listen to over 3000 songs from Haruki Murakami’s record collection

    By | April 13, 2017

    Thaw mind and muscle with the Japanese author.

    The next best thing to pulling up a chair in Murakami’s study and dissecting Horace Silver, is going to be tucking in to this mind-boggling 3,350-song playlist from his vinyl collection.

    One of the most music-obsessed novelists on the planet, Murakami’s 10,000-record strong collection is mainly jazz but also touches on folk, pop and classical. Murakami says he always listens to music when he works. “Music brings a warm glow to my vision, thawing mind and muscle from their endless wintering,” he writes in his 1985 novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

    Take a visual tour of his working space here and say goodbye to your weekend plans below:

    [via Open Culture]

  • Max Richter’s Songs From Before gets 10th anniversary vinyl reissue

    By | April 18, 2016

    Robert Wyatt reads Haruki Murakami on Richter’s landmark album.

    Originally released on CD in 2006, Max Richter’s Songs From Before is to get a vinyl reissue via German classical music institution Deutsche Grammophon.

    Typically cinematic, and a shimmering example of Richter honing the art of melancholy, Songs From Before features the voice of Robert Wyatt reading excerpts from Japanese author (and record collector) Haruki Murakami to create a nostalgic follow-up to 2004’s The Blue Notebook.

    A favourite of David Bowie, who said the record “has the power to produce tears when listened to in the right setting”, Songs From Before has been remastered from the original recording and will be released on vinyl on 27th May.

    Click here to order your copy and listen to Autumn I and II from the album below.

    Image: Boomkat

  • Take an interactive tour of Haruki Murakami’s record room

    By | September 17, 2015

    Japanese author lets you inside his 10,000-record vinyl collection.

    As far as work spaces go, you can’t get more inspirational than a wall of 10,000 records. A jazz aficionado with a weakness for record collecting, famously reclusive writer Haruki Murakami has opened up his study for inspection, sharing an interactive tour of the space on his own website.

    A glimpse into the creative environment of the man behind cult novels like Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Murakami admits that he almost always works while listening to music, and that, of the 10,000 or so records in his enviable floor-to-ceiling collection, the majority are jazz. His sound system doesn’t look half bad either.

    Visit the author’s website to explore his study in more detail.

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