Nov 24, 2010

Hikashu and Jang Gi Ha performed "Ningen No Kao" together

Last night, the first Japanese gig of Jang Gi Ha and his company, an emerging indie act from South Korea, was held at a venue called Lush in Shibuya, Tokyo. The place was pretty packed and lively. That's always a good sign.

Hikashu was called in as guest and performed first. There were not much time so unfortunately, no stretched improvisation. But aside from that, it was dense, tightly 40+ minutes. Of course, it turned out great.

The band appeared and swiftly kicked out their set by a new, unreleased song called "Ashita Ni Kaketa" ["Taking a Chance on Tomorrow"]. It's an uplifting, mid-tempo number with many humorous word-play in its lyrics, and always works great as a starter.

The next tune was "Tengoku o Nozokitai" ["Want to Glimpse the Heaven"], a christmas song (well, sort of). In interlude, lots of christmas-related tunes were quoted one right after the other. It went kinda overplay (the time was limited) and eventually Makigami had to hold it, then the band went back to the part where it should be and completed the tune. After that, "Ikirukoto" and "Nyuunen" were performed. Somewhat shortened, but sharp as always.

Then "The Curry Master" followed. It is the featuring number of Mita Freeman, the philosopher of the group. As a preamble, Mita preached about the importance of Cardamom as an ingredient of curry, then performed it. As always, in the midst of guitar solo, he shouted "Curry!" and the song went into climax.

At this moment, introduced by Makigami, Jhang Gi Ha appeared as a guest and performed "Ningen No Kao" with the band. He must spend some time for preparation; he sang the lyrics well in Japanese and there were no misses. And so that he made the stage debut in Japan with a Hikashu's song, as Makigami noted it on the scene. That's great, indeed.

After that, the band went into "Pike" and concluded the set.

Jang Gi Ha and the Faces played about an hour. Their set was very entertaining, not exactly I anticipated, but anyway it was great. Makigami also appeared at their set briefly and performed. It seemed that Jang Gi Ha and his company had already established a strong fan base here and a bright future was awaiting them in the country also.

As for the Hikashu's set, I would say that seeing them perform is always quite an experience and the event proved it again. Their next appearance is on December 26 with all the original members. Apparently they prepare a special program for the date and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Note: A blog of Hasegawa Yohei has a photograph of Hikashu and Jhang Gi Ha in rehearsal. See here for the photo. Mr. Hasegawa is a Japanese musician who has been active in South Korea for years, and he came to Japan with them for supporting as an additional guitarist.

Related Entry:
Jang Gi Ha and the Faces invite Hikashu for their first Tokyo gig

Nov 21, 2010

Next New Release - "Nikoseron 3"

While we are anxiously awaiting for the "Ningen No Kao" reissue, it is just announced that the next new recording from Hikashu is going to be an EP, and its title track is a newly-recorded rendition of "Nikoseron."

"Nikoseron" is released for the first time as the opening and closing number of their latest album, Ten Ten Ten. Almost coincidentally with the release of the album, it was performed at their concert. It was remarkable; not only performance wise, but for the arrangement.

More precisely, the premiere performance of the composition before audience was at the Shibuya Quattro concert on December 26, 2009. From the beginning, the arrangement was considerably different; for the two studio-recorded version, the bass-clarinet of Shimizu Kazuto was prominently featured, and Sato Masaharu played mostly with brushes. Instead, at the live premiere, Shimizu settled with piano, and Sato played entirely with sticks.

At the performance, Shimizu commenced to reproduce the distinctive, sequenced rhythmic pattern with a concert grand, and subsequently he even took a solo with it. In a good sense, it was grandiose - fairly fast, but never lose or miss the rhythmic feel of the composition.

Even after that, the arrangement was changed many times - I suspect most of them are not preconceived but spontaneous - and nowadays it usually includes a drum solo but not restricted with it. For example, as I reported here before, at the Fuji Rock performance, in the concluding part of the drum solo, there was a short but memorable obliggato with bass-clarinet and cornet, and it even followed Sato singing the main melody in falsetto while playing the drums - it was incredible to see he masterfully sang the melody and kept the complicated rhythm at the same time.

It is highly likely that "Nikoseron 3" (both part 1 and 2 are on the "Ten Ten Ten" album, hence the name) has a revised arrangement, but I cannot tell it is the same with live performance. (and in the first place, which one?)

Anyway, Hikashu fans are in for a treat again.

Its release date is tentatively set on January 25, 2011, which is also Makigami's birthday. Rejoice!

Note: You could listen to the part 1 at Hikashu's MySpace account. Here.

Nikoseron (part 1)
words & music - makigami

It was yesterday evening when I became patient
Throwing questions to a fragment of transience

Stairway in station
Mails are prohibited
It must be on sunday;
to select the future

What infected was a life of inertia
Looked like being square;
inside it was rotten

Do not step on a flower in roadside
Take off your earbuds and turn the wheel

Who inflated is a genie of "before long"
Maybe it wants to catch onto the whiteness of udon*

It's nice to eat oranges
It's nice to keep walking like this also


I want to admit you
I want to absolve you

There are the seagulls above the sea, delivering prayer
It's not love
It's not peace

* udon (wikipedia) is a popular sort of noodle in Japanese cuisine.

Nov 17, 2010

Tanikawa Shuntaro on "Ningen No Kao"

Needless to say, Tanikawa Shuntaro (wikipedia) is one of the most important figure in Japanese modern poetry. And recently he made a comment on the Hikashu album "Ningen No Kao" ["Human Faces"] which is to be reissued soon. Here I translated and quoted it;

So many voices, so many sounds. The lyrics are want to cease being printed words and be naked. It seems like there are boys and grannies in the cd. Nice to listen to in a field or an alley. The cd would send out the words and the music diligently if disposed as nonburnable garbage or launched to the space by a rocket.

Tanikawa Shuntaro

The release date of the album is December 23, and HMV Japan already listed it Here.

Nov 16, 2010

"Fushigi o Mitsumete" is just re-released as a part of compilation album

various - Groovin' Showa 7

1. The Starlin - Romantist (Naked Mix)
2. Aburadako - S 60
3. S.O.B. - Ego Fix
4. Coa - Much
5. Friction - Crazy Dream
6. Totsuzen Danball - Drinco
7. P-Model - Ressha
8. Boredoms - Thalidomide Car
9. Yamamoto Seiichi and Phew - Masao No Yume
10. Hikashu - Fushigi o Mitsumete
11. Here is Eden - Memento Mori
12. Shakushain - Kill Them All
13. Omokage Lucky Hole - Sukina Otoko No Namae, Compass no Hari de Kaita
14. MiLK - Sukidake Nano Watashi Dake Sonja Nai
15. Hana Densha - Woo Rock
16. Ai Hiyo (Haino Keiji) - Sekai Wa Futari No Tame Ni
17. Moriyama Takeo - Mana

Released on November 10, 2010.

As I noted here earlier, the compilation album, which having now a kind-of-rare Hikashu track "Fushigi o Mitsumete," is just released. It is the seventh volume of the series entitled "Groovin' Showa," which is a selection of punk and new-wave tunes from the vault of Tokuma Japan Communications.

Tokuma Japan Communications is the record company which issued two Hikashu albums, "Acchi No Me, Kocchi No Me (Dazzling Eyes)" and "Orguss 02 OST," in early 1990s. Both album has been out of print for years and now hard to find. "Fushigi o Mitsumete" is the featured number from the latter album.

The song is just perfect. Pretty imaginative, lots of anticipation. Listen to it, and be impressed.

Available now via HMV Japan.

Fushigi o Mitsumete ["Watching The Wonderment"]
word - Makigami, music - Sakaide

Sometimes the world becomes mysterious,
Because of the dream which the light delivers.
Knowledge shines a light on the fragments,
But the mysteries deepen.

I want to know where it is.
You are far off in the distance,
smiling and waving to the concept called time.

To be sure, I'm watching the wonderment.

I'm stirring the world with the flat of my hand.
The vision center has been amid the fog.
The space is on the brink of going confuse,
And you are to become a little star.

The structure of living torments me.
My senses go paralyzed,
And the only thing I sensed is just you, shining.

To be sure, I'm watching the wonderment.

Jang Gi Ha & the Faces invite Hikashu for their first Tokyo gig

In November, Jang Gi Ha & the Faces, an emerging indie rock group from South Korea, will play in Japan for the first time, and they invited Hikashu for their first gig in Tokyo.

The group was formed in 2008. The first single "Cheap Coffee" was released in May from independent label and sold 14,000 copies. It was exceptional figure for indie rock scene in South Korea and the hit eventually endowed the band some prestigious awards. In February 2009, they released the first album "Living without any trouble" (available at HMV Japan) and it sold more than 40,000 copies. After having performed some rock festivals, the band is now preparing the next album.

In Japan, it is planned that their first album is to be released in November. And Jang Gi Ha, the vocalist and the leader of the band, visited Japan for the first time for promotion in August. Also, having been interested in Hikashu for years, he succeeded to attend their concert in Kichijoji.

He must be impressed. Although it was a seated event, he eventually couldn't help but standing up and dancing while the band was performing. After the concert, he met the Hikashu members, bought some CDs and got them autographed. He also expressed to invite Hikashu for their upcoming Tokyo gig and the band graciously acceded to it.

Jang Gi Ha & the Faces - Cheap Coffee

Jang Gi Ha & the Faces
guest: Hikashu
November 22, 2010
@ Shibuya LUSH, Tokyo
open 18:00 - start 19:00
adv 3,300 yen - door 3,800 yen
(one drink order minimum)
LUSH website (Japanese)

Shibuya LUSH

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