O-ARC is a creative collaboration between Masa Iida, singer-songwriter from Yokohama, Japan, and Neil Mason, a London-born guitarist. First meeting at a regular music night in Camden Town in 1999, since then Masa and Neil have formed a musical bond like no other. Although both happily working on other projects when they met, slowly they discovered an affinity for minimalism, subtlety and the power of understatement.

In 2002, Neil contributed to Masa’s first solo recording session and, by then, Masa was already a loyal fan of Neil’s music, rarely issing any of his new friend’s live performances.

In 2007, after many bedsit jam-sessions and dodgy rehearsal studio ‘lock-ins’, Masa and Neil named their new partnership, ‘O-Arc’. The name O-ARC is inspired by the concept of enso (which in Japanese means ‘circle’). Closely linked to Zen philosophy, enso represents enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, the void and the moment. In this school of thought it is believed only someone who is spiritually complete can draw a perfect circle.

It could be said Neil’s guitar playing, at once tranquil and explosive, is the perimeter line that appears to enclose Masa’s poetry—words, rhythm and melody impossible to contain. Masa and Neil literally come from worlds apart but they approach music with a singular heart. Their Japanese and English sensitivities compliment each other. Poetic, atmospheric and meditative, the O-Arc blend is, in a way, even therapeutic:healing. Masa’s lyrics are greatly influenced by Haiku poetry. He prefers few words to express feelings and thoughts. Neil understands Masa’s approach and, with a bagful of guitar magic and sleight of hand, amplifies and elevates the O-Arc sound to a unique position in the sonic stratosphere. Together Masa and Neil seek to achieve the impossible; with each song and every performance O-Arc seek to draw a perfect circle of music.




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