Eri Sugai. Even though her name is not known, many have probably listened to her singing voice. Longing for American pops and strongly affected by church music, she went into the music world. She has worked on the music for over two hundred television commercials because of the transparent quality of her voice and her musical talent, and she has built up a steady position as a commercial creator and vocalist in Japan.
She has been active in the pop field, for example, releasing her solo album in 1994, and also writing over fifty songs for many artists in addition to other activities.
The first meeting of Eri Sugai and 'PACIFIC MOON' was 'PACIFIC MOON VARIOUS ARTISTS III'. She presented two songs, 'A LULLABY OF TAKEDA' and, 'A SONG OF BIRTH' on this compilation album and she received great accolades from various fields because of the rare clarity of her voice and her overwhelming chorus sounds created by solo multiplex recording.
The human voice has the power to move people. Since the dawn of history, among all the animals which use 'voice' as a way to transfer intentions, only human beings have elevated music which uses 'voice' (that is, 'song') to become an 'Art'. Probably song is the fastest of all the arts to have developed, and it is the most musical art so it has always been loved by people. In Japan also we have a variety of songs such as folk songs, classic children's songs and so on. But it seems as if the concept of 'harmony' did not exist strongly in Japanese songs, and mostly songs have been sung in a solo vocal style, or with people singing in unison.
In this album, Eri Sugai harmonizes Japanese folk and other melodies with harmonies particular to western music derived from church music. This creates a unique world. Eight of the ten songs recorded on the album are her originals and she arranges all of the songs on the album. The chorus sound (which sometimes features more than a hundred channels) was created carefully, piece by piece, as though she has been carefully weaving silk into cloth. It sounds delicate and full of thoughtfulness, as if it is wrapping around the listener. The seventh track, 'MAI', which is also the title of the album, intertwines national chorus phrases which are sung with the percussion rhythm and a chorus that is full of clarity. It makes the listener imagine a mysterious scene like a dance around a bonfire. In this song a 'Shou' (a wind instrument with seventeen pipes of various lengths) is used in an effective interlude. Also Shakuhachi, Quena, Chinese flutes, Koto and other instruments are introduced in various songs, creating an oriental and mysterious world.
Eri Sugai has completed a mind-boggling project alone, in which she has imagined each sound from the melodies and choruses to the backing tracks, and then created those sounds. It can be said that she is one of those artists who deserves to be called a 'Creative Genius'.
When I listen to her first album by PACIFIC MOON, 'MAI', I once again feel the emotional attractiveness, scales of possibility and depths of touch which are in the human voice.
And it can be said that this album is the finest masterpiece of a 'human voice album' in the way it has drawn out the maximum depth a voice has.