Sonic Hugs from oto and More
Irvine, California ("Art Happens Here!") is a large planned city. It's either the 6th or 1st safest city with a population over 100,000 in the U.S. (depending, on whether you go by "serious crimes" or "violent crimes"). However, if you want to replace your dishwasher, they will make you get a permit.
Taking Irvine's good with its bad are the three members of oto -- Hirotaka Makino (guitar and computer), Bunichi Oshiro (guitar and percussion), and Takeshi Udo (keyboard and vocals) -- who call the city home.
oto's serene, twinkling ambient/electronic music might make the perfect, soothing soundtrack for a city that's both very safe and very regulated. The safety part sounds great, the other part makes me feel in need of a reassuring sonic hug.
The picture's a bit dark, but judging by the sound from this video, the music works well in Long Beach too...
oto - Color (on Sketch #1 EP)
On April 14th, oto returns to Long Beach, for another show at the Portfolio Coffee House.
The group's Sketch #1 is one of four EPs currently available for download, all for free (wherever you live) from Creation Centre. Creation Centre is a division of Music Related, a small record label run by musician Pandatone.
The primary stated motivation for starting the Centre was to help artists avoid the delays inherent in releasing music the old-fashioned way. It's also "an exploration of a new distribution idea, already in use by software manufactures." It's a great idea, and there's some really nifty music both at Creation Centre and at Music Related (like The Sea's lovely shoegaze).
The songs from each Creation Centre EP can be downloaded individually or altogether. You can make a donation to most of the artists (The Number won't let you donate), and all the money goes to them (the artist you theoretically chose to donate to, that is, not to The Number, although that would be quite scandalous.)
The Number - Two Boats (on small EP)
Pandatone's Happy Together is out April 7th. He's playing the Cake Shop in New York City on April 4th with Julianna Barwick and Praveen Sharma.
Pandatone's video for "We F__king Love You":