With his new album Ulysees, Toronto singer-songwriter Justin Nozuka crafts a world that fully explores the space and vibrancy that resonates within the purity of minimalism.
There is a deeply-rooted calmness to Ulysees that echoes like a sustained note held through the 10 tracks of the album— a natural grace tempered with passion that creates an ambiance of delicate space around the music. “To me the songs feel generous and spontaneous,” he explains. “I wanted to create a world with this album, an experience that is unique and unified.”
It is a new perspective for Nozuka, who says that finding the heart of Ulysees was a winding process. A marked departure from his previous work, the journey of creating it was a slow transformation and free-flowing experiment of sorts that began in 2011.
Following his debut album Holly, and the follow-up You I Wind Land and Sea, Nozuka took his time to create his third work. “Making this album was really quite a long process, during which some key things happened. I was urged to get into production by a good friend, so I took his advice and decided to learn to produce. I was also able to work together with an aesthete, a friend with whom I created Ulysees,” says Nozuka.
The bold move to produce on his own brought a depth and instinct to his music that was previously untapped. While he looks back fondly on his previous work, this evolution in his creative process heralds a departure into new territory that he now relishes.
With the new freedom of working from a home-based studio, and the experimentation of sitting in the producer’s chair for the first time, as Nozuka pursued songs and refined them a specific aesthetic emerged within the music he was writing that would eventually become Ulysees.
“Dreaming/Eyes Changing Colour” symbolizes the journey the album takes listeners on, enveloping them in a gentle night. The lead single “Right By You” evokes a languid, sensual feeling while delving further into a unique and soothing dream-like world Nozuka so deftly weaves together through the album. Listeners can almost feel the raw and transformative experience it has been for Nozuka.
And so with Ulysees, Nozuka’s artistry is ready to be embraced anew as a cherished pause and an intention for balance in an otherwise frenetic world.