Alternative, Ambient folk, Chamber folk
Raised in Kyoto, Japan, Ichiko Aoba learnt to play classical guitar aged 17. She found inspiration from Disney and Studio Ghilbi soundtracks and was mentored by Japanese singer songwriter Anmi Yamada.
Ichiko released her first album, Kamisori Otome (Razor Girl), in 2010, aged only 19, and went on to receive much acclaim for her folksy, jazz-influenced songs written for nylon-strung classical guitar and voice – including her 2013 album “0” and on 2018’s “qp”.
She has collaborated with Japanese legend Ryuichi Sakamoto and American sound artist Taylor Deupree; with Sakamoto’s Yellow Magic Orchestra colleague Haruomi Hosono; with Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco (they duetted on a song for a whisky advert); and with Japanese producer and multi-instrumentalist Cornelius (“she’s such a genius,” he says, “she brings such focus and intensity to what she does, and she’s an incredibly talented guitarist – even though she’d only been playing for two years when I met her!”). There have been collaborations with Japanese hip hop producer Sweet William and with Japanese indie band MahiToThePeople. Canadian violinist Owen Pallett has cited her as an inspiration, comparing her compositions to those of Burt Bacharach (“I’ve never been so blindsided by a musician as I was by Ichiko Aoba”). Ichiko has also worked on several stage productions, including a production of Cocoon written and directed by Takahiro Fujita, and a revival of Lemming by Shuji Terayama.
2020 Loved List - 9/10 – Anthony Fantano / The Needle Drop
The Guardian : Best Contemporary Albums of 2021 -#5
"Ambitious" 8.0 - Pitchfork
"Sublime" 8/10 - Uncut
"An immersive meld of indie-folk, classical and jazz" - **** Mojo
"An alienated dream-pop masterpiece" - **** FT Weekend
"A remarkable feat of musical world-building" The Observer
"Visceral, omnipotent sounds" 7/10 Loud and Quiet