Shugo Tokumaru
In Focus?


4.2
excellent

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
February 16th, 2013 | 52 replies


Release Date: 01/22/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Yet another chance to tumble lovingly into the quirky mind of Shugo Tokumaru.

There is a principal in biology called the “Red Queen Hypothesis” that states that something could potentially evolve to maintain the place that it has always been. There’s change, for sure, but nothing in the way of taking the organism outside of its established niche. Oddly enough, this correlates to Shugo Tokumaru and his approach to the lovely music he creates. Throughout his career, Tokumaru has essentially remained in a stasis. No grand changes in direction or bold uncharacteristic statements appear anywhere in his discography. Instead, the Japanese songwriter has tinkered a bit with the mechanics of his work, but ultimately has stayed exactly where he has always been. Luckily, that place is exactly where he belongs.

In Focus?, for the initiated, is a Shugo Tokumaru record through and through. What that entails is quite a lot, actually, as the artist crams in a mind boggling amount of sights and sounds into the record. Each of the album's 15 tracks features an average of 20 instruments with hundreds of recorded tracks. Per the usual, it’s a quirky, fun, and sweetly produced mixture of Tokumaru’s folk and pop sensibilities; a magical amalgam that sounds bigger than anything he’s done before. Nailing down every single facet is nigh impossible as a bevy of instruments fill the space, never allowing for a hint of silence to break through. While this may seem a bit busy, one finds themselves sprinting to keep up only to be wonderfully exasperated at everything to be found. Tons of percussion and unconventional instruments are used ingeniously, and as always, Tokumaru absolutely stuns with his complex guitar delivery. Once again, the artist shows a penchant for bringing together tons of elements into a perfectly executed package.

With his fifth record, Shugo Tokumaru has shown that he need not surprise his listeners with any grand displays or attention grabbing gestures. Instead, it’s the sublime chorus in “Circle,” the total silliness of “Pah-Paka,” and the sheer intensity of “Micro Guitar Music” that once again displays his genius. That being said, In Focus? is far and away his boldest record to date. Choruses are more explosive and it all has a much more boisterous pop feel to it. Yet underneath the added girth is the same core that has been present in every one of the musician’s offerings to date. Thankfully, it is more than enough reason to delve once again into Tokumaru’s quirky saccharine mind.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

My favorite thing of 2013 so far.

Tyrael
February 16th 2013


20876 Comments


This is your best work in a long time

good job, I will check this out

Digging: Darkspace - Dark Space III I

mindleviticus
February 16th 2013


8229 Comments


Good album

Digging: Cultes Des Ghoules - Henbane

Anthracks
February 16th 2013


3740 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it was released in 2012 tho

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

foxblood
February 16th 2013


6797 Comments


yeah hasn't this been out for a while. or is that just in japan or something idk

Calc
February 16th 2013


12187 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sorry to be that guy but I don't think that's what the red queen hypothesis is...

other than that I'ma listen to this.

Digging: Jizue - Shiori

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

"The Red Queen hypothesis, also referred to as Red Queen's, Red Queen's race or Red Queen Effect, is an evolutionary hypothesis which proposes that organisms must constantly adapt, evolve, and proliferate not merely to gain reproductive advantage, but also simply to survive pitted against ever-evolving opposing organisms in an ever-changing environment....The term is taken from the Red Queen's race in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass and involves the Red Queen and Alice constantly running, yet remaining in the same place."


While not exact, and an incredible dumbing down, it is for the most part correct. That and it works well with the review so there.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2013


7391 Comments


This has some good hooks. I listened to 2 songs out of this and they both sounded interesting to say the least. Despite many instruments involved, this sounds really organic. Great review as always.

Digging: Lo-Pan - Colossus

Asdfp277
February 16th 2013


1093 Comments


the ratings look like a penis.

is this a sign?

joplinpicasso
February 16th 2013


427 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, Tokumaru has been adding layers to his work ever since his minimalist debut, so this might just be his best work yet.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Shugo rules, this is a 2012 release fyi.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2013


50362 Comments


Eli you hack

Digging: Viper the Rapper - You'll Cowards Don't Even Smoke Crack

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

This is a 2013 release internationally, which is what sputnik has always followed. Check polyvinyl's website to see the release date.

Anthracks
February 16th 2013


3740 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

polyvinyl released it in north america in 2013, sure, but the album was available in his home country (and on the internet) in 2012

Xenophanes
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


10594 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2 | Sound Off

Yes, but as I said, Sputnik follows the international rule as always. In regards to THIS SITE, it is a 2013 release, much like Spiritual State was a 2012 release.

klap
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2013


10417 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Who gives a fuck when it came out it's good

robin
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


4248 Comments


eli i have grown to love you so

greg84
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2013


7391 Comments


Yeah. It doesn't matter if it's 2012 release. It most definitely rules.

Anthracks
February 16th 2013


3740 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i guess so...it's just kind of weird to ignore the fact that it released originally in november just because of where it released

kingsoby1
Emeritus
February 16th 2013


4950 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I mean who cares except that our release date is wrong on the site?



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