Wanderlust will be my fourth recording covering Masako’s music. When the announcement comes through for such an artist you feel instant gratification and anticipation. For my listening experience, this initiates comfort and knowing. Not so much knowing what to expect but to know that what I will hear I will be completely immersed in.
While I enjoyed all of Masako’s releases to this point, I believe Wanderlust exhibits an exceptional advance in maturity. I say this because each track is brilliant and quite different. She has mastered the art of diversity and utilizes the other instruments in the mix to her advantage.
The one track that caught my ear as different than anything she has ever done was “Forestology.” It is like a cool breeze, a lovely mixture of ambient, contemporary, jazz, and electronic. It sounded like something I may have heard on another album from a jazz innovator like Ponty, Corea, or one of those luminaries. I loved it of course, and feel now the sky is the limit for this artist.
Then there is the cello and horns in gorgeous and poignant tracks like “Shades of Memory.” Speaking of “Diversity,” as I mentioned earlier, I did not realize it was a track until it came up. It is quite simple and direct with just Masako and her piano. I think the message here is different than the one I was conveying. I believe what she is saying with the track is that the world is a diverse place of many cultures, religions, and backgrounds. With the beauty and soft invitation of her piano, she extends a worldly handshake to all listeners. Reaching out with music is very powerful and words can be a strong statement in the track title alone. This is all accomplished in a little over three minutes.
To coincide with that thought process, “Year of Love,” perhaps speaks to the virus that invaded our lives last year. The love of each other and the healing powers of music are a very effective combination. My inner being acknowledges music as such, as I am sure it does with many listeners. The music speaks to you in many ways. The connection we have with it is universal and spiritual. This track evokes the tides of the ocean and the sounds pull you out to the sea of sound and sweep you away for some time of relief. Over six minutes of excellent musicianship and emotion is tied into this track. It is a masterful instrumental and one of the best on the album.
Wanderlust is an amazing achievement for a solo piano artist. Masako continues to push the musical envelope with each successive release. As a very particular and hard-to-impress listener, I found it an absolute joy to experience from start to finish.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-New Age Music Reviews Founder
May 22, 2021
01. Lily of the Valley (2:10)
02. Ocean and You (7:18)
03. Wintering Birds (4:56)
04. Forestology (5:13)
05. Wanderlust (4:54)
06. Lake Willoughby (3:34)
07. Shades of Memory (5:02)
08. Diversity (3:12)
09. Year of Love (6:04)
10. Aquifer (4:34)
11. Wisdom of The Heart (4:45)