Catalog No: BK-K 037
Release Date: 2013-04-11
License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.1 JP
Sean Crownover is originally a San Franciscan who moved to Japan to teach English. (For those who are unaware, there is a rather substantial industry in hiring native English speaking people to teach English in countries where it is not the native language. English as a Second Language, or ESL for short.)
The story of Junpei comes from the time in Sean’s life when he was first teaching in Japan. There was a little boy in one of Sean’s classes to that seemed be quite bright and capable. However, outside of the classroom it seemed that Junpei frequently got into trouble. When Sean talked to Junpei’s mother, he found out that Junpei was troubled by not having a father. One of the lessons in the classes that Sean taught usage of the phrase “I want…” Students would normally fill in the rest of the sentence with some other vocabulary word. When this lesson was scheduled, Junpei was the only student who attended the class. Sean went through the lesson, and then had Junpei finish the sentence any way he wanted. Junpei said, “I want a father.”
It’s the emotional core of such stories that separates Junpei from similar electronic music. Each song in this release is based on some experience in Sean’s life, and has been written as a way of framing or dealing with them on both an intellectual and emotional level.
For example, there is an almost palpable, strident longing to the opening track Wanting Someone, while there is a gentle playfulness to Tomie’s Bubbles. It’s this kind of shifting range of emotions that comes through in the eight pieces on this collection that transcend the style or genre of electronic music and puts it in a class that few artists ascend to.
This isn’t the kind of music that you listen to with light detachment while doing other chores, or have on as background noise while you go about your daily tasks. This is the kind of music that is there to engage you completely. It’s the kind of music that is best listened to on a pair of headphones with the lights turned off, and all other distractions set aside. Only through this kind of immersion into the music can you gain the full experience, and it is an experience you are likely to find yourself wanting to repeat, many times.
(I also highly recommend reading the review of Junpei on Netlabelism (via Wayback Machine). Some of the points made in that review explain some of the cultural differences that separate the music in this release from other releases. I also recommend reading the release page notes, which contain the complete Junpei story. The release page is linked above.)