Hikaru Utada, 'Somewhere Near Marseilles' : #NowPlaying Co-produced by Utada and Floating Points, "Something Near Marseilles" takes the established J-pop idol on a hypnotic disco train.

Hikaru Utada, 'Somewhere Near Marseilles'


You can always get lost inside Hikaru Utada's intricately designed, deeply felt music. But more than two decades after their teenaged debut, the brilliant J-pop artist stretches out over a side-long groove. There are more immediate tracks on the bilingual Bad ModeSkrillex and A. G. Cook co-produced the chart-leaning "Face My Fears" and "One Last Kiss" alongside Utada, respectively – but "Somewhere Near Marseilles" takes Utada on a hypnotic disco train.

Sam Shepherd, a.k.a. Floating Points, who co-produces the 12-minute track with Utada, understands that their voice has always sounded like a future that glances past – out of time, yet ever prescient in how pop music morphs. Soft-panning bongos, 808 kick drums and funky synths glide in and out of Utada's long-distance yearning for a rendezvous somewhere between London and Paris, where their lover lives. In a way, Shepherd treats Utada like he did Pharoah Sanders' saxophone on last year's Promises – even when we depart or disintegrate their transcendent voice, it's implied in the production's undulating shape, still shimmering in awe of Hikaru Utada's presence.