Two weeks ago, a day before I moved to Tokyo and began a new job with a new transit route and new ways of falling into routine, I traveled to a seaside town near Kobe. I came for a concert, one I expected to be held somewhere near the city’s downtown, an idea that drifted away as the buildings along the train grew smaller and the Pacific bigger. The show ended up taking place in a sleepy locale ripped from another time, not like a diorama but an honest-to-goodness time warp. Narrow streets bordered by local stores soundtracked by nothing but the nearby waves. It was a weird escape from modern civilization – the place did have an active highway and a train line, but not much more – and a very welcome one. For a few hours, it was easy to get lost in it.
I think Hiraga Sachie would feel the same way. Her latest song, “E No Shima,” translates roughly as “Island Bay” and features a similar coastal escape (one the corresponding video helps to outline). The music matches the landscape – it’s sparse folk strumming, at times matching the throwback setting and eventually giving itself over to giddy escape, horns and strings picking the pace up to a trot. Saying Sachie’s latest sounds like a mid-week holiday doesn’t seem like much praise – one pictures a lazy day spent burning through Parks And Recreation instead of going outside or taking a shower – but a break from the busy world is a small wonder regardless of how it comes together, and “E No Shima” offers a brief vacation. Adding an extra layer of connection for me to Sachie is her decision to name her new album 23 Years Old. I’m not that far removed from the same number Sachie reps, and that age – this whole time of life – seems exhausting, the transition from child to adult in full effect and full of blunders. She recognizes, though, that it’s possible to get away from all that for a bit, and I dig that outlook. Listen below.