Posts Tagged Murakami

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and Liszt’s Years of Pilgrimage

Tsukuru GroningenThe title of Murakami’s latest Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage clearly refers to Liszt’s three suites. Tsukuru often plays his favourite record, left  by a lost friend, as it reminds him of a lost time. Not exactly homesickness, but plenty of Temps du Mal.. and much more less obvious references.

Apparently when the book got released Universal Music sold out of hardcopies (CD’s that is). Japan and the rest of the world then had to queue up online for a digital alternative. Maybe the whole Booktunes project (building an online source of book related music and musical novel knowledge) was not such a bad idea at all.

The power of the music made it all possible, Everytime he listend to the music, […] a vivid recollection of them appeared.

With the original Booktunes site is still on the back burner in the kitchen of the lab, I decided to upload Side B of Tsukuru’s treasured vinyl on the Booktunes YouTube channel. You can check Monk & Elvis by clicking their names. Enjoy!

‘First Year: Switzerland’. He sat down on the sofa, closed his eyes and concentrated on the music. […]

Dutch translation of the new Murakami novel now available at Atlas/Contact, UK/US release is set for mid-august (Amazon UK/US).

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Murakami Festival Amsterdam – Where is Booktunes?

Murakamifest-250pxAmsterdam has a Murakami Festival coming up! On Januari 11th, 15 small book clubs will spread throughout the city centre to read and discuss their favourite author. Hosted by the likes of Anna Drijver, Jeroen Vullings and Philip Huff this could be a fun nite out. If you do have tickets for this sold out Litfest you will get a bonus:  an advance copy of Murakami’s yet to be published De kleurloze Tsukuru Tazaki en zijn pelgrimsjaren (Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage).  

I do feel a tad bit sad missing out on this event. Once I completed my studies with a thesis on Mr. Murakami, and in the early days of Booktunes we were part of the 1Q84 book launch taking care of the musical program. “Well, Booktunes is on the back burner and you are reading Bukowski at the moment” is what my wife said.

Her remark got me thinking. Would I want to play (a role) at this fest? How? What about my plans regarding Booktunes in general? When do I see Job & Mina again and decide where to take this project?

Regarding the first and second question: Maybe not. I quit dj-ing and don’t see any other role for me on festivals. Seriously.. personally..  festivals, public performances and get-togethers are music things. I do like to share thoughts on books, but preferably with my brother or Will (who is great).

The happening did get me fired up on the future of Booktunes though. I would love to build a new site that would function as a music and knowledge base for all music related books. An online community? Essential and a starting point will be the option to listen to the tunes straight away, no matter where you are. To have tunes at hand while reading.

So I re-upped the original Booktunes Soundtrack for Murakami’s After DarkA good opportunity to start testing some new music players as the WordPress audio options are way too basic (arent they?). Basic, but still worth tuning in to listen to some Murakami music and get ready for the festival on Januari 11th. Enjoy!

More info on the Murakami Festival here (in dutch).

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Holiday Reads – Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto

Off to the English & Welsh Countryside I brought along some titles I came across in Kemptown Bookshop. Books that pop up in my mind every now and then but tend not to surface when surfing on the Amazon river. While lighting the BBQ I found out Banana Yoshimoto is a great author and that her ’88 debut novel Kitchen is beautiful read! How I love the solitary protagonists detached from the world / emotionally connected to others…

Yes, exactly. The same kind of characters that made me fall in love with Murakami’s writing. A love that made me stay away from other Japanese writers as I couldn’t get my mind not to expect finding the same features with all other fictional Toru’s.Yoshimoto’s novel is too short to summarise here. Read it, enjoy the two stories that both relate to music, each in it’s own way.

Kitchenavailable online and beautifully illustrated by Lianne Leeflang – plays a hard to find tune by 80’s pop start Momoko Kikuchi. Hard to find if you trust the English translator for this book / if you don’t have friends at Goodreads helping you out. Grab it!

Moonlight Shadow bears the same name as Mike Oldfield’s piece, mentioned by Banana as the inspiration for her story. Nice vid.

More info on Dutch artist Lianne Leeflang here.

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March 2nd: New Murakami Story on my Calendar

murakami_app_iconI must say March is a little late to buy a new calendar. Still the Murakami Calendar App is worth the full 2 bucks as it will give you 10 more months of starting your day with the occasional Murakami quote, Murakami info, Murakami art, Murakami covers and some new Murakami stories!


The app itself is pretty basic – I would say perfectly minimal – and matches both the dreaminess we find in his stories as the new and old cover art for all Murakami titles published by Random House. The ‘new’ stories (that apparently already appeard in Irish literary magazine Southword in 2006) bring us the shortest Murakami texts ever. Could it be that the upcoming April release will be the first Murakami flash fiction collection? We know he likes to alternate his longer works with short stories… and personally I think 1Q84 was a bit too long.

What are you going to do today?

Read an exclusive story by Murakami. Without the music.

Julio Iglesias

Once we had been duped out of our mosquito coils, we had nothing left to defend ourselves with against the attack of the sea turtle. I tried ordering more mosquito coils by phone and from a mail-order house, but, just as I thought, the telephone line had been cut, and there had been no mail service for more than two weeks. I should have known the cunning beast would never let us get away with such a thing: our stock of mosquito coils had kept him in misery too long. Now, for certain, he would be gloating and smiling and napping on the ocean floor, preparing himself for tonight.

“We’re done for,” my girlfriend said. “As soon as it gets dark, the sea turtle is going to eat us.”

“No, we can’t give up hope,” I said. “If we rack our brains, we don’t have to let any damned sea turtle have his way with us.”

“But he stole every last one of our mosquito coils.”

“No, keep your mind on fundamental truths, woman. If the sea turtle hates mosquito coils, there’s bound to be something else he hates.”

“Like what?”

“Julio Iglesias,” I said.

“Julio Iglesias? But why?”

“I don’t know. The name just popped into my head. A kind of intuition.”

Following my intuition, I put Julio Iglesias’s “Begin the Beguine” on the turntable and waited for the sun to set. The sea turtle was sure to attack after nightfall. Then it would all be settled one way or the other: the sea turtle would either eat us or weep.

Just before midnight, we heard the wet slapping of footsteps outside. Instantly, I dropped the needle onto the record. As soon as Julio Iglesias began singing “Begin the Beguine” in that syrupy voice of his, the footsteps halted, to be replaced by the anguished groans of the sea turtle. Yes! We had beaten him!

That night, Julio Iglesias sang “Begin the Beguine” 126 times. I myself hate Julio Iglesias, but fortunately not as much as the sea turtle does.

The Murakami Calendar App at iTunes UK.
The Murakami Calendar App at iTunes NL.
The Murakami Calendar App is currently not available in the US.

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The Illustrated Bakery Attacks

Murakami&_MenschikPhew! It is hard to put Murakami’s Underground aside but I have to write this note on the shiny Dutch pressing of De broodjesroof verhalen, internationally known as “The Bakery Attack” and “The Second Bakery Attack”. Of course, I also want to play the tune that turns the first big bread robbery into a failure.

As the bundled Bakery Attacks are (again) only available in a very limited number of languages , I suggest you get this pretty pressing from or publisher Atlas, enjoy the beautiful drawings by Kat Menschik and, if you are not Dutch or German,  read the text from your personal collection or an unpaid online source.

Bakery Attacks Trivia: Though the first baker has the protagonist and his comrade  listening to “Tristan und Isolde”, years later the robber tells his girl he was forced to hear “Tannhäusser” and “The Flying Dutchman” before finally munchin’ away on freshly baked bread.

More Baker’s favourites at this excellent classical YouTube channel:
The Flying Dutchman

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Haruki Murakami text on tune

YoutubeSquareLogoAs I wanted to hear Curtis Fuller’s Blues-ette but, in the midst of moving from Brighton to Amsterdam, did not have my turntable set up, I decided to use Youtube’s video database as an audio resource. It was Haruki Murakami who got me hooked on when I was reading After Dark… now I was curious to find out what would happen if I’d include his name in Youtube’s search field together with Fuller’s.

Isn’t this just great?! Smasherkean has more of this stuff online. Nice one!

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In my bag: an illustrated Sleep by Murakami

Amsterdam based publisher Atlas has been so kind to put a goodbye present in my bag! Now what’s better then visiting the beach in your new hometown Brighton with an illustrated copy of Murakami’s Sleep wrapped into your towel with your trunks and favourite British crisps?

Swimming was nice, crisps were delicious and the Dutch translation to the short Murakami story is great. This disturbing story about a woman thinking over her life is beautifully illustrated by Kat Menschik. This particular edition is only available to the Dutch, German and French market… helaas! I hope Vintage & Knopf will do an English version soon so all of you can enjoy this combination of Murakami’s words & Menschik’s drawings.

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Booktunes HTML5 player

From now on Booktunes uses a HTML5 player. All visitors using an iPad or iPhone – and our futuristic friends at P-Edge HQ who threw out Flash a long time ago – can now listen to our online audio content without any problems.

Good, since we plan to make all Booktunes Soundtracks available for online listening. Check our new player on the Inspired by Murakami Page and listen the complete After Dark soundtrack here.

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Music inspired by Words

A few weeks back I came across a band called Raisa. Can’t remember where but their music grabbed me.. just like they have been tackled by the words of Murakami.

Raisa made an album inspired by Murakami’s Sleeping Willow, Sleeping Woman. Reason enough for me to finally put some work in the ‘inpired by…’ pages I’ve been thinking about for some time now.

So, after starting off wit Mr. Mura again, I am wondering what other inspiring writers’ words have been put into songs by ambitious artists. Are you a musician that tinkles a tune after reading a novel?

Download Raisa’s El caso es salir de aqui for fee and enjoy their music. And of course let me know if you have ever made a tune inspired by a book.

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