Arts Esplanade Annexe Studio Music Review Singapore

Mosaic Music Series 2017: Shugo Tokumaru (Review)

Photo Credit: Hideki Otsuka

Last in Singapore in 2013, Japanese multi-intrumental experimental musician Shugo Tokumaru has since released his seventh album. On TOSS, Tokumaru has expanded his quirky, eclectic pop music further still, including collaborating with Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, to reach new sonic heights, employing instruments from xylophones to ukuleles and harps to handclaps to create impossibly colourful sounds that would give anyone synaesthesia.


So it’s no surprise then that at his show at the Esplanade Annexe Studio on Monday, Tokumaru’s one hour set writhed with life and got the nearly full house of fans bursting with energy as they danced and bopped to the myriad of sounds. Joined by his five piece band, there is sheer delight that emanates from his genre-bending music, all of which wouldn’t sound out of place in a surreal cartoon.

From crowd pleasers such as ‘Katachi’ to his regular ukulele cover of ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ (as to why, in the post show Q&A, he simply says “it’s one of my favourite songs!”), each new track is a revelation, a variety box of chocolates each with a surprise centre as he and his band reveal the quirkiest of instruments producing the most beautiful of symphonies. Watching band member Yuniko release a balloon into the air before wielding an animatronic cat puppet (she uses 37 objects and instruments in total), one gets the feeling that a Shugo Tokumaru show is akin to seeing an intricately designed Rube Goldberg machine that delights with each movement.

As the band returned to the stage for an encore with ‘Parachute’, one of Tokumaru’s biggest hits to date, it was evident from the crowd’s cheers that Tokumaru’s music did nothing but fill the studio was positive vibes. Joyous and carnivalesque, one can’t help but feel thankful that the Esplanade has brought in Tokumaru once again for this truly one of a kind sonic experience, and we can’t recommend enough to catch them if you ever get the chance to.

The final artist of the Mosaic Music Series 2017, Feist plays on 14th November at the Esplanade Concert Hall. Tickets available from SISTIC

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