Jan 31, 2011

Hikashu - Nikoseron Part 3 (2011)

Hikashu - Nikoseron Part 3 (2011)

1. Nikoseron Part 3
2. Hung On Tomorrow
3. Blue On Blue
4. Nikoseron super mix

Lyrics - Makigami, Mita (3)
Music - Makigami (1,4), Mita (2,3)

Recorded in Tokyo and Yugawara, 2010
Released on January 25, 2011

Makigami Koichi (vocal, theremin, cornet, programming)
Mita Freeman (guitar, vocal on 3)
Sakaide Masami (bass, programming, mix)
Shimizu Kazuto (piano, synthesizer, bass-clarinet)
Sato Masaharu (drums, percussion)

The latest release from Hikashu is a 4-track single. All the titles are recently written and regularly featured at their live performance these days.

1. Nikoseron part 3

Basically this is a condenced version of previous ones but not a simple, edited down thing. You could perceive new elements here and there. The arrangement is not altered much, although Makigami adapted new lyrics and the vocal is entirely re-recorded. A refreshing rendition of the Hikashu funk.

2. Hung On Tomorrow

Being merry and uplifting, this number has been used as an opening number at their concert lately.

Mita conceived a basic idea for this 20+ years ago but left unfinished and forgot it. Last year he happened to find a memo, which has only riffs and chord sequence. Being interested, he decided to work on it again, added a bridge and complete it. Then Makigami applied lyrics.

The song has sheer driving feel with strong hooks. As of the arrangement, obligato lines played by synth and a little clapping are subtle but effective embellishments. The lyrics is vague, lots of rhyming and word play, and hard to pin down its meaning, but yet interesting and surely you could feel it filled with positivity. Soundwisely, it is just a great, irresistible groovemaker.

3. Blue On Blue

You will be surprised with this one. In intro, the arrangement is so skeleton and lots of programming, quite unusual for the band. Of course it is intentional.

The song features Mita Freeman, the guitarist and the other frontman of the group. He even took lead vocals here.

Mita is quite a character. But his uniqueness refuses to be explained easily. Reminds of Peter Sellers in pink panther movies ... tentatively, let's say he could be both serious and funny at the same time. In fact, his stage persona is filled with ambiguity, even surreal, utterly unexplained and beyond the word.

The Japanese title is "Ao Sugiru Jersey" which literally means "Too Blue Jersey". In Japanese, "Jersey" is a general team which means sportswear using synthetic fiber. Of course it is a loan word from English. It is also a common symbol of pubescence in Japanese culture because school children often wear tracksuits.

Mita sang the difficulties of being the awkward age here, hence "too blue." It filled with humor and in fact it is so funny, but it is certain there are some seriousness too.

Mita likes to use religious terms, especially Buddhism, in his lyrics. This time the word "Shaba" (娑婆) is frequently used for chorus and outro. It is "Sahā" in original Sanskrit. As of its meaning, here I quoted from an entry of Buddhist cosmology in encyclopedia.com (original) as follows:

Sahā is the most important of the Impure Lands—although from another perspective, Sahā may be considered a "mixed" land, alternately ornamented (pure) and unornamented (impure). Located in the region of the south, Sahā is our universe and is the field of the Buddha Śākyamuni.

4. Nikoseron Super Mix

At first glance, some of you might be bothered with this one. No wonder thinking like that, because remix thing in single is often no more than a shameless filler. But I can assure you that this one is definitively not as such and, quite the contrary, you'll be pleased with.

This one is over 7-minutes long but after hearing it I bet you would feel it is too short. A great re-construction.

Meticulously constructed by Sakaide, who also mixed the recent Hikashu releases. Besides the previous versions, the mix incorporated a live recording of the song, although uncredited. The live portion is from the Kumamoto concert, held on June 18, 2010.

The artwork featured recent photos of the band, including in performance at Jazz Art Sengawa (2009) and Fuji Rock Festival (2010).

Overall, excellent as always. Just go out and buy this thing.

Available worldwide via HMV Japan.

Related Entry:
Next New Release - "Nikoseron 3"

Jan 10, 2011


One of Makigami's ongoing projects is Kibyoshi, a theatrical piece with animation video and live music. At the project, he teamed up with Ikue Mori and Mark Nauseef.

The first DVD is going to be released in February 2011 on John Zorn's Tzadik label. The introductory website is here.

Currently the trio plans to do a Japanese tour in June this year.

Jan 1, 2011

Hikashu in NYC May 2011

Hikashu will perform in New York City this year. There is only one date so DO NOT MISS IT!

May 13, 2011 Friday
@ Japan Society
New York, NY

Japan Society, NYC

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The details is not still announced yet so keep watching the society's site.

Japan Society Official Website
Japan Society - Google Maps

Related Entry:
Live in the USA