Shugo Tokumaru began recording his sweet and eccentric lo-fi indie pop songs -- songs that nod to artists like Plamo, Lullatone, and PWRFL Power -- in the early 2000s. He recorded a ten-track demo CD-R, Fragment, in 2003. The album was never officially released, but it did manage to grab the attention of the U.S. label Music Related, which released Tokumaru's second full-length, Night Piece, in 2004. Tokumaru went on to release a couple more albums over the course of the next few years; L.S.T. followed in 2005 and Exit was released in Japan in 2007. The latter was re-released on the U.S. label Almost Gold in 2008. For 2010's Port Entropy, Tokumaru adopted a slightly more polished, but still playful, approach. Port Entropy was also his first album to enter the Oricon Top 40 chart in his native Japan.
While making his third album, In Focus?, Tokumaru spent hours layering hundreds of sounds into intricate collages that were mastered at Abbey Road Studios. The results were released in Japan in late 2012 and in the rest of the world in early 2013. The process behind Tokumaru's next album, Toss, was even more elaborate: he recruited an array of musicians including an orchestra, members of his live band, art collective Maywa Denki, and Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier, and had them record source material that he later configured into wide-ranging experimental pop songs. During the two years it took to make the album, Tokumaru documented the process on YouTube as well as a dedicated website. Toss was released in Japan in October 2016 and in the U.S. the following April. ~ Margaret Reges