In 1999, Japanese pop singer ACO released absolute ego, an album that marked a pivot in her career from a pop jazz idol to an indie rock chanteuse. Eponymous 4’s sole member, Greg Bueno, listened to that album repeatedly in 2004. It struck him that some of the first songs he wrote could be fashioned in an album similar to absolute ego.
It didn’t take long to comb his old sketches for material. Three songs he wrote in the late ’80s and early ’90s — “Promises”, “Never Turn Back” and “Silver Sting” — always served as an opening anchor to all the demo tapes he compiled. They struck him as an opening sequence to an album.
So Greg used that trio as a springboard for Imprint, a 12-track album influenced by the adult contemporary radio he spent his youth listening to, coupled with a more recent fascination with Japanese indie rock. Sade, Hiroshima, Soul II Soul and Basia mix up with Cocco, ACO and fra-foa.
Half of the tracks on Imprint had been in various states of completion for more than a decade. “Our Best Wasn’t Enough” and “Your Gaze” were chord progressions Greg jotted down in 2003. “Take It Apart” was originally titled “Caught in the Dark” and had lyrics that were long ago lost. The other half of the album was newly-written.
Imprint turned out to be the very first album Greg completed as Eponymous 4, and it was the first set of songs he recorded after investing in his bedroom recording studio.
Eager to bring this music to the public, Observant Records released Imprint as the first volume in the Work Release Program. As Greg improved his skills as an audio engineer, he became dissatisfied with that earlier release. So the Work Release Program went out of print to be replaced by the Ex Machina Series, of which Imprint also serves as its first volume.