Jan 31, 2013

Hikashu - Acchi No Me Kocchi No Me (1993)

Hikashu - Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me [London Eye & Paris Eye]

1. Ishibotoke [Stone Buddha]
2. Kobore Zakura [Sakura on the Ground]
3. Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me [Nervous Eyes]
4. Coelacanth
5. πRapple
6. Sanagi [chrysalid]
7. Otoko wa itta [Das kann nicht sein]
8. Daruma [Daruma Doll]
9. Kusahibari [skylark]
10. HERsHE #3
11. Yume Shokubutsu [Plant in My Dream]
12. Iroenpitsu [colored pencil]

lyrics - makigami except mita on 5
music - makigami (6), mita (2, 5, 7), sakaide (9), nomoto (3, 4, 8, 12), rasch (1, 11), newton (10)

Makigami Koichi - vocal, cornet
Mita Freeman - guitar, voice on 5
Nomoto Kazuhiro - alto and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet
Torsten Rasch - keyboards
Sakaide Masami - bass
Tsuno-Ken - drums

Lauren Newton - voice
Hans-Jürgen Noack - violin

Recorded in May 1992 at Hansa Ton Studios, Berlin
Produced by Hikashu
Originally released on October 25, 1993 from Tokuma Communications
The Remastered Edition released on December 16, 2012 from Bridge Inc.

This album is distinctive for two things - being the band's first effort with Torsten Rasch, and the collaboration with Lauren Newton.

Originally from Dresden, Germany, Torsten Rasch joined Hikashu in 1991. Being received formal education for classic composition but turned to rock music, he formed a band called Decadence and had been active in the 1980s. After the collapse of Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany, he came to Japan in 1991. He soon became a sought-after composer for various media including films and tv movies while playing in Hikashu. He returned to Germany circa 2002, and now mainly works as a composer for opera.

Lauren Newton, an American voice performer living in Germany, was actually contacted by the band in 1991 for the first time, while they were recording the "Hanauta Hajime" album in Hansa Ton Studio. The members thought highly of her work with Vienna Art Orchestra, and aspired to do something together. She came to the studio, witnessed the band working, and agreed to participate in next album. True to her word, next year she came to Berlin from Tübingen, where she resided at that time, and took part in the session.

Hans-Jürgen Noack is a violinist and a member of Decadence, the band Rasch played in Germany. Being quite a versatile musician, his playing fitted well with the band's sound.

Having just joined the band, Rasch already contributed remarkably as arranger and composer here. There's Lauren Newton's voice throughout the album, and her presence is just enormous. She even contributed a composition; Recording original composition from writer outside the band is quite a rare for Hikashu.

The title track is about dizziness. In interlude, bass, drums and two vocalists's voices are intertwined closely and that's quite interesting. Seemingly being very abstract, πRapple is actually rigidly constructed, entirely based on the concept of π [pi] which is the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.

This remastered edition comes with a sheet called "Hikashu Shimbun" [Hikashu Newspaper]. It is a reproduction of the promotion material which was prepared for the original release. Also the album's booklet is completely reworked with newly-published photographs.

In June of the same year, a Japan tour for supporting the album followed. Newton and Noack participated in it as well.

Sadly, we had to wait an original album of the band followed this effort, for 13 years. But that's another story to be told.

Available worldwide via HMV Japan here

Hikashu in 1992. From left to right - Torsten Rasch, Mita Freeman,
Nomoto Kazuhiro, Makigami Koichi, Tsuno-Ken, and Sakaide Masami.

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