Our man in Japan, DJ and prolific broadcaster Nick Luscombe has been described as "a restless musical soul." We just know him as an absolutely charming bloke with a thirst for music that just won't be slaked! A long-time friend of Oliver Spencer, Nick's pioneering work in music is a constant source of inspiration and motivation because he brings a child-like fascination to every new thing he discovers, and discover he does. As his BBC profile states, "Nick is constantly on the look-out for sonic goodness from all corners of the earth, and eager to share new discoveries through his radio shows and numerous DJ sets." And doesn't he look good doing it?! Oli recently caught up with him to chew the fat on a tonne of different topics - to listen to the interview just click the link below.
Nick currently lives out in Tokyo, where he presents a show for CIC Tokyo (the global entrepreneur incubator), among a plethora of other things. One of his most interesting projects is MSCTY, which he founded in 2020. "MSCTY explores new ways to experience the world through sound and space," explains Nick. "It's a collaboration between physical, tangible, imagined landscapes, and sonic in order to seek new ways of reading the world around us. MSCTY believes that the quality of sound environments is as critical as quality air to breathe!"
We asked Nick for his favourite picks from our Spring 21 collection. He has picked out a trio of earthy tones in some classic Oliver Spencer silhouettes that are perfect for year-round wear but especially the summer.
HOCKNEY SHIRT JACKET
COWBOY JACKET KINGSWOOD GREEN
"I love the cut of the linen judo trousers. They'll be perfect for the long hot Tokyo summer! The Hockney shirt is totally my vibe, too. I'd like to think it may even bring out the hidden visual artist in me! Oliver Spencer totally gets the colour green and he’s a master of using texture in a really classic yet innovative way, which is why the Cowboy jacket in seersucker does it on every level."
When not scouring the remote corners of musical treasure troves for sonic gold, he lectures about sound art at universities, and is an in-demand field recording and sound archive creative for installation and live work. Nick has put together a brilliant 20-track playlist exclusive to Oliver Spencer followers, featuring an eclectic mix of Japanese and global musicians. It's a soundscape that sonically circumscribes Nick's Japanese experience, dipping into Japanese jazz, pop, ambient, city pop and post punk, all conveying the energy of the huge megalopolis that is Tokyo. Scroll down for the track listing and Nick's commentary. Prepare to be transported into the enviably esoteric and cultured head of our man in Japan!
Plastics - Top Secret Man
"Brilliant opening track from the debut LP by Japanese New Wave band Plastics. Welcome Plastics came out in 1980 and is one of my favourite Japanese releases from that time. Plastics’ singer and guitarist Toshio Nakanishi's jacket design is pretty special too!"
Nigami 17th Birthday!! - Official Sponsor
"Fast forward 40 years and in a similar punk/pop spirit - 2020s style - with an inventively arranged and produced pop track from Nigami 17th Birthday that got a lot of mainstream radio play late last year."
Evala - Kuchi Kara Umarata Onna (Daito Manabe Remix)
"Artist, designer, VJ and DJ Daito Manabe is one of the founders of the super-futuristic tech-arts team Rhizomatiks. He’s well know for his remixes and productions for many artists including Perfume here in Japan. On this track he worked with sound artist and musician Evala. Essential Tokyo sci-fi sonics!"
Yumi Seino - La Maison est en Ruine
"I discovered this wonderful 80s track when researching and digging through the archives of the Nippon Columbia record label for my Tokyo Dreaming compilation which came out at the end of 2020. Yumi Seino’s version of Michel Delpech’s La Maison est en Ruine has a feel all of its own with a slinky backing and expensive sounding strings. Japanese 80s production at its most luxurious!
J.Dilla - Think Twice (DJ MURO Remix)
"Essential new remix from DJ MURO, one of Japan’s foremost hip hop producers from the huge new 20th-anniversary reissue of Dilla's album Welcome 2 Detroit."
Nautilus and Kei Owada - Lady Day and John Coltrane
"Dynamic take on Gil Scott Heron's classic. So much energy in this track from jazz trio Nautilus and guest vocalist Kei Owada. Cant wait to see this band play live one day!!"
Portray Heads - Elaborate Dummy
"Recently rediscovered 1980s electronic post industrial post punk three-piece. I’m on a bit of a mission to discover more sounds from this era here in Tokyo!"
Kazuya Kotani - Fatima
"Ambient track percussionist Kazuya Kotani taken from the excellent compilation of Japanese chill out music Oto No Wa, which has been put together by a top team of Bonobo bar DJ buddies Ken Hidaka, Max Essa, and Dr. Rob."
Sugai Ken - Denden
"Incredible producer and musician who is creating some truly memorable and unique music and sound art here in Tokyo right now."
Ichiko Aoba -Adan no shima no Tanjyosai
"Quiet and sleepy music from folk singer and multi-instrumentalist Ichiko Aoba who creates delicate sound worlds - in stark contrast to the opening track of this playlist!"
Felbm - Herausweh
"Love the Spring-like vibes on this cut from the super-talented Dutch producer and musician’s Tape 3 collection on Soundway Records."
Four Tet - Parallel 7
"Time for yet another incredible album from Kieran Hebden / Four Tet that gently fuses organic and electronic sound and music. Parallel 7 is one of my favourite moments on the record. Drift with this!"
Sault - Uncomfortable
"One of my most played albums at the end of 2020 still doing it in 2021. This track in particular."
Chiminyo - Reachin’
"Brilliant percussion and keys-driven electronic /jazz from UK producer and musician Chiminyo’s I Am Panda album. Perfect night time city-scape music."
Argo Vals - The Noblessner Tower
"Argo Vals is one of many brilliant musicians based in Tallinn, Estonia that I have been lucky enough to have seen live and worked with. If Tokyo is spiritually my “second home” then Tallinn is a very close third! This is a commercially available rework of a piece commissioned for my MSCTY. SPACE project from the album In Loving Memory Of.
serpentwithfeet - Fellowship
LA's avant pop artist serpentwithfeet returns with a brand new single for 2021 co-written and co-produced with Sampha and Lil Silva. Good to be reminded of the good and simple values of love and friendship…"
Space Dimension Controller - The Love Quadrant
"Back to 2013 for this understated electronic classic from the best named artist this side of Alpha Centauri."
Black Harmony - Don’t Let It Go To Your Head
"One of the all-time-great Lovers Rock tracks from 1979, written by Gamble and Huff and performed by London trio Black Harmony. Instant rewind guaranteed!"
Madlib - The Call
"This track is taken from the new Madlib album Sound Ancestors. The album is a collaboration with Four Tet. It’s genius x 2."
Aretha Franklin - Get It Right
"Let’s end on some 1980s “can do” optimism - sunshine music for a brighter year ahead!"