Ichika Nito “Window” EP Out Now
Japanese guitar prodigy Ichika Nito is indecipherable to Western audiences. His hands can be seen regularly performing mechanical wonders, jumping between octaves and skipping strings on terrifyingly large fretboards in massively popular YouTube videos. Yet, Ichika is never seen hosting guitar workshops, hanging out with other six-string legends, or using his platform to do anything but make music. And though he seems increasingly aware of his self-inflicted obscurity, his new EP “Window” still exudes that quiet, reflective creativity in its very self-contained, four-song story that leaves nothing to be desired.
The eponymous two-minute track “Window” opens with a technical, mellow riff leading into a few bars of wah-laden chords. It blooms into a funky chordal lead with muted strums and blazing-fast scale runs, and then resolves back into the main riff. “Home”, another two-minute piece, kicks off with a simpler, vibrato-rich riff for four bars before the rhythm section enters the mix. A pensive bridge leads into a lower version of the main riff, and the cycle repeats with variations on the drums and bass before the main riff returns. “I’m sorry” brings back and reworks a riff debuted on YouTube last year, with some tasteful jazzy work on the kick and cymbals; this is the only song on the EP where Ichika uses a rock drum sound as opposed to the programmed trap hits on the other three.
“Picturesque” wraps up the EP with a wistful lead line accompanied by a restrained hi-hat. Lo-fi drums and sustained bass add some swing to the mix as Ichika plays around with dynamics and vibrato on the main riff, before the main riff and a subtle rainy texture close out the song in isolation. “Window” is Ichika Nito, simultaneously playful and reliably orthodox. Why he is happy in this humility, both personal and musical, is a question only he can answer. His recent work with Machine Gun Kelly, Marty Friedman, and Tim Henson does indicate a desire to spread his wings, but only time will tell when this virtuoso chooses to play the packed stadiums he is very much capable of playing, if at all.