The way Ayuko Kurasaki, who creates music as Noah, describes her childhood home of Chitose in Hokkaido is so lovely that I'm surprised it isn't being used in tourism ads.
"It's a wide-open place. There were forests near my house and I would see foxes, squirrels and woodpeckers," she says. "I used to draw or play piano in our backyard, under starlit skies with my pet dog."
Kurasaki later moved to Iwakura in Aichi Prefecture, but the singer-songwriter conjures up these "idyllic" backdrops throughout her debut "Sivutie," a sparse electronic album where her voice and piano drift like a winter's wind through the songs. It's the latest release from Tokyo's Flau imprint, and Kurasaki's work fits in just right among what my collegaue James Hadfield described as the label's "world of hushed, understated beauty."