Music News


Koki Nakano on Spotify


Japanese pianist Koki Nakano today releases ‘Berceuse’, the latest single to be lifted from his forthcoming new album ‘Pre-Choreographed’, due out through Nø Førmat! (also home to Oumou Sangaré and Mélissa Laveaux amongst others) on April 24, 2020. The album is the follow-up to Nakano’s much-admired 2016 debut ‘Lift’, also released on Nø Førmat! and created in collaboration with cellist Vincent Segal.


Speaking about the tightly looping new single ‘Berceuse’, Koki notes; “Sleep relieves you from all your anxieties, but here there’s a hint of mystery too. Yes the tempo is slow, like a normal lullaby, but the repetitive piano notes maintain a mysterious and suspenseful mood.” ‘Berceuse’ is available to stream from here:

The title of Nakano’s 2016 debut album, ‘Lift’, evoked a move well-known to ballet dancers: the porté, meaning ‘carried’. Requiring strength and delicacy, risk-taking and mastery of balance, the title also  conveyed the deep relationship that Koki’s music maintains with dance, a bond he’s been cultivating ever since. ‘Pre-Choreographed’ is the continuation of that opening chapter, with the album release accompanied by a stunning series of choreographed music videos across which director Benjamin Seroussi (Opening Ceremony, Benjamin Clementine) collaborates with dancers/choreographers including Amala Dianor and Damien Jalet. The latest of those – synched to Koki’s track ‘Near-Perfect Synchronisation’ – is available to stream here.

A pivotal moment for Nakano in the creation of ‘Pre-Choreographed’ was seeing Sara, a piece performed by the L-E-V dance company in front of the Nymphéas by Monet, at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, which laid the foundations of the new album. “When I compose,” explains Nakano; “I keep images of bodies in a state of movement up in my head. They’re a great help to me when it comes to structuring each of my pieces, which develop as if they were responding to those movements.” And so, Koki’s album bears a title which speaks to a re-alignment of music & dance; “It reflects the keen sense of longing I feel for a time when the two disciplines were closely bound together, functioning jointly in society. It also means it’s as if the music is in a state of ‘waiting’ for, or even ‘lacking’, choreography.”

Hailing from Fukuoka Prefecture and later trained at both Japan’s prestigious Toho Gakuen music school and the Tokyo University of the Arts, Koki came to the attention of Nø Førmat! label founder Laurent Bizot when he performed at Tokyo’s Maison de la Culture in 2014. Bizot signed him on the spot – with Koki soon upping sticks to move permanently from Japan to France – continuing the label’s fondness for adventures with progressive pianists, begun back in 2004 when Nø Førmat! issued Chilly Gonzales’ pivotal ‘Solo Piano’.

Pre-Choreographed is available to pre-order here: