Tokyo Stories is first and foremost a love letter to that magical city where each moment in time—a subway journey, a morning run through Yoyogi park, an afternoon stroll or a sushi bar—ends up becoming a cinematic memory of unmeasurable lyricism. And it’s this intimate feeling, soft and fragrant like the air of spring, which first emerges from the music on Tokyo Stories. The album is also a consolidation of Francesco Tristano’s composing style, first heard on Piano Circle Songs (2017), which looks for an organic synthesis of all of his musical interests—electronic ambient and baroque, jazz and impressionism—without any visible seams of time and style.
Tokyo Stories is not an exploration of Japanese music, but a way of capturing the essence of Japan through music; not necessarily about harmonies but about the poetry of sound. In many of the pieces on the record, such as Lazaro or Nogizaka, it’s Tokyo’s own sounds which weave around the piano melodies, excerpted from field recordings made in restaurants, streets, subway stations and silent nighttime walks. In the instances where there are Japanese-sounding chords, like in Yoyogi Reset, Tristano’s intention is to find the place where musical traditions meet; just like, more than a century ago, Claude Debussy found inspiration in Asian music to find new harmonies with which to meet the end of the romantic period.