LOS ANGELES (SONIC IMAGE) - Monday Michiru, long in the forefront of Japan's underground music scene, has teamed up with the innovative internet music company and label ArtistShare, and is set to release her new album "Routes."
A year in the making, the album is part of a bigger project entitled "Routes - Project 2005" which she launched exclusively through her website in December, 2004. Under ArtistShare's unique system, the project allows fans, or "participants," to pre-purchase packages set at various levels and see the creative inner workings of the album as it comes to life through a series of audio and video clips, journals, photo essays and other contents. A concept not unlike a share in a stock, the project is now "maturing" with the actual album set to be shipped to the participants in December, 2005. The packages are varied, from the sponsorship Executive, Gold, Silver and Bronze levels ranging in price from $5,000-$250, to the more accessible Download, Active and Music Lover levels in the $24.95-$15.95 range. The album is offered in both CD and vinyl formats.
Monday was based in Tokyo for over 13 years before moving back to the States and has a prolific list of releases from Japanese and European labels both as a soloist and featured artist; many of her Japanese releases made their way overseas as far as Australia and South America. Her impressive roster of collaborations run the gamut from club hipsters including Masters At Work, Joe Clausell, Mondo Grosso, Basement Jaxx and Kyoto Jazz Massive, to jazz and world musos Kenny Garrett, Airto Moreiro, Bill Laswell, Lisa Ono and many others. She has performed at the Blue Note clubs both in New York and in Japan, and at a host of music festivals worldwide such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Baltic Music Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, Stuttgart Jazz Festival (where she performed with her father, saxophonist Charlie Mariano), and the Madarao Jazz Festival. Asked to describe her music, she says tentatively, "Nu fusion? I like to mix various genres as well as cultural and generational influences, and would rather let the listener label it how they want." It was Monday's move to New York in 2000 to start a family with jazz trumpeter Alex Sipiagin that eventually led to her introduction to big band jazz composer/arranger/leader Maria Schneider. Maria's album "Concert In the Garden," also through ArtistShare, earned a Grammy Award in 2005, the first ever given to an artist of any genre on an album sold exclusively through the internet. "I was impressed and excited to witness a new system of record sales succeed and be recognized by the industry ," Monday comments. "I think it's the future of music making and selling. In cutting out the middleman, it allows the artists and their listeners to have direct contact with each other, and also brings back the creative control to the artist without the record company breathing down their neck about the bottom line."
"Routes" shows Monday's versatility as a producer, composer and even programmer as she moves easily from electronica and club inspired tracks to more organic and jazzy sonics tinged with other influences. Even with the wide range of styles, there is a linear theme holding the tracks together as Monday's vocals and melodic concepts naturally flow from one tune to the next. The lone track that is given sonic treatment by Japanese producer Shinichi Osawa (of Mondo Grosso) stands out in a refreshing way, cleansing the audio palate, in what he describes as "folktronica," but it too navigates within the style that can essentially be called Monday's own. Already there is a buzz in the DJ community with the opening track, "The Right Time."
"Routes" will be available directly through Monday's website.