Although Marihiko Hara had a childhood filled with music of one sort or another, he says early memories of it are foggy. One that stands out clearly, however, is the face of singer-songwriter Scott Walker.

Hara, 36, remembers his mother listening to Walker every day, but it's only his face on the front of the album cover that sticks with him. Still, something must have sunk into his subconscious as this Osaka-born and Kyoto-based composer seems to draw on a lot of varied influences for his new album, "Passion" — particularly the rousing eponymous track that opens it.

“My maternal grandparents were Christians,” Hara says. “They were a host family for seminarians, mainly from Spain and Italy. I often spent vacations, such as summer, Christmas and Easter with them. I got familiar with sacred songs, I guess.”