Music / CD Reviews


Various Artists "Tokyo Suite Selected by Nigo"

by Shaun McKenna

As the setting for Sofia Coppola’s 2003 film “Lost In Translation,” Tokyo’s Park Hyatt Hotel was immortalized. The long takes of a jet-lagged Scarlett Johansson staring dreamily out onto a neon-lit metropolis lent themselves well to the shoegazer soundtrack.

Nigo takes a different view from the 50th floor of the Park Hyatt. The musician is a bit of a Tokyo institution himself, as the designer behind fashion brand A Bathing Ape (Bape) and the DJ for hip-hop group Teriyaki Boyz. Nigo has compiled 13 tracks that represent his time at the Hyatt on “Tokyo Suite Selected By Nigo,” a compilation commemorating the hotel’s 15th anniversary. “Tokyo Suite” starts off with pioneering Japanese hip-hoppers Seiji Ito and Tinnie Punx, and features local music fixtures such as Cornelius and Rip Slyme. A lot of the tunes capture the mood of staring out onto the city, such as Natural Calamity’s “When You Gonna Wake Me Up” and a Stereo MCs remix of Nigo’s own “Freediving.”

But it’s the order of the tracks that ultimately disrupts the mood. Pairing Cornelius’ blip-poppy “Star Fruits Surf Rider” with Plastics’ new-wave “Peace,” or the Euro-house “Hiroshi’s Dub (Savanna Mix)” by T.P.O. with Natural Calamity is too jarring. The album might have worked better divided into uptempo and downtempo sections and perhaps the different styles may have been a reason why Nigo didn’t blend the tracks into one another, along the lines of the “Cafe del Mar” series. The lack of mixing gives the album a mix-tape feel rather than an actual DJ mix.

However, the album does work excellently as a quick primer on Japan’s musical talent, which is fitting for the jet-lagged tourists that stay at the Park Hyatt.

“Tokyo Suite” is on sale at Bathing Ape stores, the brand’s online store and the Park Hyatt’s online shop,