Wednesday, January 24, 2007

# 7 Feel

Nagisa Ni Te (Org, Jagjaguwar, 2002)

is the so-called Japanese genre which has been translated as 'a sweet lovely song sung at a harsh noise meeting.'
That's what Nagisa Ni Te (On the Beach) is all about. Simply put, Feel is avant garde for the simple moments with a little fuzz mixed in. Main man Shinji Shibayama has been crafting these lovely psychedelic songs now for over 20 years but it wasn't until about 10 years ago that he found his inspiration in the fleshly form of Masako Takeda (cover). As I would later come to find out, Shinji sang a lot about Masako on the first Nagisa album and by this time was now singing with her (not always harmonies, but beautiful call and response).

During a late night trip to Radiofree Records about 4 years ago I had put a few albums on the counter before Viva to purchase. Based on what I was buying and what we were talking about at the time (can't recall) he led me over to the two Nagisa albums on the shelf. He thought I'd like this one a little more than their first- On the Love Beach (barely, and for one reason, no Masako), and maybe its because it was the first one I heard and how it had that dream effect on me that led it up the charts immediately.

'The New World' starts things off slower than slow with Masako singing "your soul can light me up any time." I have to add that these songs are indeed so delicate and sometimes innocent that if they were sung in English they may be deemed embarrassing. With titles like 'We', 'Strength of the Waves', and 'Strength of the Wind' you can rightly assume nature is the backdrop for these tales of togetherness. The chorus of 'Song about a River Crossing Song' translates like this: "Ah, we will cross the river/me and you together/ looking out for the sharp rocks below." It's just heavenly they way they join forces, and there are so many instruments played so sparsely and sometimes purposefully awry that it has made me almost despise rerecording takes, with of course that note or that timing being forever lost with a retake. For them, nothing will be infinitely swallowed up, because the waves or the wind will bring it all back. "All you rushing animals that do not know the words for green grass/Come home with us."


Sean B said...

Oh, my. Very excited. I just read an article on Slate about Japanese pop music (

It seems like Japan is this parallel universe of awesome Western-style pop music of every genre. Giddy.

I also found an informative playlist on eMusic entitled "54 Reasons Why Japan Rules." (The whole URL wouldn't fit, but search for this album here, and the playlist should be on the right).

Between this and Chihei, it begins.

Papa Shoegaze said...

yeah, we need to get together with beer and records. maybe something harder if you'd like?
maher shalal hash baz and ghost are 2 other japanese artists i would recommend.
as for Nagisa, i would start where they started with 'On the Love Beach'. most pop of all of them. lovely...

Lucky Strikes said...

Is Radiofree Records a shrine? Sounds like it's the source of a lot of musical light and magic. Wish we had a place like that around here...

Sean B said...

Perhaps it is a shrine, but if so, it's only the ruins of an ancient lost shrine, as it is now but a weedy field across from ABC Liquor.

OK, it was always across the street from a liquor store, but at least a (rickety) building stood on that ground before.