Daigo Hanada - Satori (Moderna Records)

Daigo Hanada – Satori (Moderna Records)

How does a musician find hope to continue their craft when met with an unexpected and debilitating physical illness that has resulted in numerous visits to the hospital, along with the difficulty of prolonged periods of uncertainty?

For Japanese-born composer and pianist, Daigo Hanada ‘hope has found me’ and his new record is the product of the pain, angst, isolation and recovery of the last few years. Released on Montreal-based minimalist label Moderna Records, Satori finds Daigo sharing 13 compositions that perfectly encapsulate the feeling of someone trying to get to grips with living with a sudden physical illness while finding optimism to keep moving, aware that these dark times will pass.

Speaking on the conception and the writing process of Satori, Daigo described thatThe core idea for the record started with the second track ‘Satori’. I actually have no knowledge of chords and music theory, but as you can hear in the track, ‘Satori’ is based on chords. It started with following my instinct to find the right sound when I was improvising the piece for the first time. Then I started seeing the whole picture for the record. ‘Shimmer In The Sky’ is the sister of ‘Satori’; they share almost the same chords, then the whole record developed from those two tracks.”

The record takes listeners on a journey with points that clearly display Daigo’s state and situation over a period of time. Opening tracks ‘Dear’ and ‘Yura’ and ‘Toki’ evoke the feelings of helplessness with their vulnerable and bare production, stripped to delicate piano melodies. There are no notes wasted in the record. Each note played has meaning and purpose. The record continues and evolves into a more optimistic sound, a feeling Daigo has encountered in recent times. ‘Happiness’ and concluding song ‘And It Goes On’ find beautifully constructed melodies that are more upbeat and full, conveying a light in the darkness. Accompanied by soothing reed organ harmonies, Daigo has made a record that is both light and dark, vulnerable and confident all at the same time.      

Touching upon the musical influencers on ‘Satori’, Daigo state explained  that “There is actually no particular music or artists that influenced this record but it was mostly influenced by everything that was happening in the world; war, racial and all kinds of discriminations, pandemic, and my health struggles. The tracks that were most influenced by what I just listened to are ‘In The Wind’ and ‘And It Goes On’.”

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