As a music journalist, I receive my fair quota of album streams. And while I haven't got the time to listen to them all (at least attentively), I've come to know every kind of PR strategy to make sure the play button is pressed. I usually filter new music through labels or contacts who already know what I'm into, but every so often I'll randomly open one or two that I've never heard before, just to see what unexpected music feels like again.

One of those emails was regarding Joakim's forthcoming album Samurai, which is due out in March via Tigersushi/Because Music. Despite my lack of knowledge of the artist, Tigersushi is a label from which I'd only heard good things. Still, this wasn't the reason why I opened the email -- it said something about a massage, which definitely intrigued me (PRs worldwide, read and learn).

This was the catch: to get a first listen of Joakim's new album, Tigersushi/Because Music were inviting journalists to enjoy a private Japanese massage at a proper parlour while the album was played in the background (sound was sponsored by Sonos). This seemed brilliant and insane at the same time, so I answered the call right away.

My 30-minute session was scheduled, and off I went, not knowing what to expect. Yazuka, an oriental SPA-like parlour near the Eiffel Tower, had been privatised for a full two days for the event, with posters announcing Joakim's new album everywhere. I entered and took my shoes off, and was promptly directed towards a private room where I got undressed and prepared myself for the experience. A few minutes later, the lady came back in, dimmed the lights, and turned the music on.

Ok, so bear with me here: I was trying to achieve a balance between mind and body relaxation (so I could enjoy the massage) and awareness of the music that was being played so that I could understand the connection between them. And despite the numerous knots I had in my back due to my daily desk work but also to the Antichrist's recent inauguration, I was able to relax a bit; just enough to avoid being ticklish (which I am, a lot) and therefore becoming self-conscious and/or embarrassed.

As you might have guessed by the title, Samurai does evoke its share of Eastern vibes. What I wasn't expecting was the '80s neon undertone I kept sensing throughout the whole experience, paradoxically fitting the more immediate Oriental aesthetics. I felt my attention coming and going, with Joakim's chilled-out vibes soundtracking the heavenly acupressure without being too wallpaper-ish or becoming a mere companion to the massage.

I also sensed some moments of complexity, especially when the album shifted towards a darker tone mid-way; surprisingly, my body responded accordingly, and the lady pressing those specific stress points in my body must have felt it too because she instantly used full body strength on them. "She must know what she's doing," I thought to myself, though as the good old paranoid girl I am, I feared full incapacitation whenever I heard my muscles snap.

The experience was neither too long nor too short; it succeeded in what it promised: a full sensory listen of the album, allowing me to enjoy both stimuli separately. My sincere admiration goes out to whoever came up with this idea. They could have sent us the album through a Foodora-like service along with some sushi, for example, although I would've passed on that because I hate the damn thing. Whoever had this idea, a sincere merci: I hope it got you a well-deserved raise. The rest of you, stay put for when Samurai comes out: it makes for an excellent listen, with or without Shiatsu.