8 Years ago this week we lost one of my favourite artists of all time. Jun Seba died in a traffic accident in Shibuya, Tokyo on the 26th of February 2010 with a burgeoning career ahead of him. A career that has continued to grow after his passing due to the quality of his three full albums and multiple mix-tapes and rarities.
Like many fans, I originally heard his work on the anime series Samurai Champloo. It was a sound that stood out in its own right among a collection of hip hop tracks made by great artists. Nujabes production shone through and resulted in me importing his first two albums at a great expense. These two albums have stood the test of time, blending jazz and hip hop to create a nostalgic atmosphere. Their mix of instrumentals, with collaborations from underground rappers from Japan and the USA, provides music that transcends its time period.
Up until recently his work has been hard to get hold of. He released most of his music on his own label “Hydeout Productions” and his sudden death obviously caused issues with the licensing and distribution of his music, outside of the few CD’s released purely in Japan. This made fans outside of japan either acquire the work illegally or at great cost via import/buying from japan personally.
Fortunately those days seem to be disappearing as most of his catalogue has started to appear on major streaming sites over the past few months. Hopefully this accessibility will allow more people to hear and become as enamoured with his music as much as I am.
I have highlighted his work almost yearly on this blog and will continue to do so on the week of his death and for years to come. His music is still as popular to me now as it was when I first heard it. All of his work is amazing with his first two albums “Metaphorical Music” and “Modal Soul” being the highlights.
The track “Reflection Eternal” comes from the latter and exemplifies his instrumental compositions. The use of small loops from limited instrumentation creates a sound that oozes atmosphere. A laid back world that hooks many people. I hope it hooks you too as you start the bittersweet journey of hearing music that will stick with you for years, yet knowing that there will never be more. Jun Suba may have died but Nujabes lives on through his work and his loyal fanbase, which finds an endless joy to the music he created.