Mar 20, 2016

Oboe may be added to the Hikashu's instrumentation someday

Recently Makigami started to practice Oboe.

The instrument is something left by the late Nomoto Kazunori, an ex-member of Hikashu who deceased in 2003, and passed to Makigami.

The cause of taking the instrument is a reunion with Mogi Daisuke. Mogi, an oboe player and conductor, was an old acquaintance and they came to know each other via Sakaide Masami, a mutual friend and Hikashu's member. Sakaide got to know Mr. Mogi when both were living in Germany and introduced him to Makigami.

Mogi, Makigami, and Sakaide

Daisuke Mogi (1959–) was born in Tokyo. He graduated from the Kunitachi College of Music with a degree in oboe performance before going abroad to study in the graduate program at Munich Music College (now the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich). He studied under the famed oboist Günther Passin (1937–2014). After completing his degree there, he stayed on at the college as a lecturer. In 1987 he joined the Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra as first oboist. After returning to Japan in 1990, he became first oboist of the NHK Symphony Orchestra in April 1991, and also played with the Japan Shinsei Symphony Orchestra. In addition, he performed as a soloist with jazz pianist and composer Yosuke Yamashita, expanding his repertory beyond the classical genre. More recently he has taken up conducting, and he has also published numerous volumes of essays over the course of his career.

Makigami and Mogi recently started exchanging again through twitter, and joined Sakaide, the trio met at a music shop in Shibuya, Tokyo. They reminisced the old days in Deutschland, while Mogi gave Makigami a quick lesson like basic fingering and embouchuring.

Being an extraordinary voice performer, Makigami is also a multi-instrumentalist. Currently he regularly plays cornet, theremin, and shakuhachi. Also he used to be a bass player of Hikashu in the early period of the band, 1978-1982 (In December 1982, Sakaide replaced that chair and he's been staying ever since then.) More than that, he has a vast collection of ethnic instrument, mostly pipe and string instruments from asia and siberia, and occasionally plays them in public. For instance, recently he came to play hichiriki, double-reed instrument used for Gagaku, a traditional Japanese court music. You can listen to it on "Iroha Tapestry," a cut from their latest album, Ikitekoi Chinmoku [Silence Be Alive].

"Maybe someday I use oboe at Hikashu's performance, although I know it's really hard one to play. Imagining that, I feel somewhat gratifying. Is there any rock band using the instrument? What only reminds me of Roxy Music," Makigami said. In fact, he is known to be a big fan of Roxy. And surely that gratification is shared with us the band's audience as well.

Mar 16, 2016

ENOvations summer 1979 - the first western introduction

Recently Makigami tweeted:

"I remember this!! We sent them our material. Then they gave us a reply, and even picked it up for their newsletter."

Apparently, they were thrilled.

It was summer of 1979. Brian Eno fan club's newsletter called ENOvations published a review of the demo recording of Hikashu. As far as we know, this is the earliest exposure of the band in the west, or anywhere outside Japan.

At that time, the band was already in negotiation with Toshiba EMI. Their first single, "At the End of the 20th Century," was released in December that year.

The demo was recorded in 1978. Not done professionally, contrary to the review implied, but it was completed with great care. It draw some popularity, widely circulated in Tokyo underground scene, and eventually led them to the recording contract with major label. Later it was issued as "Hikashu 1978" in 1996, now available as remastered edition, which was reviewed here:

Hikashu - Hikashu 1978 (1996)

You can see the issue in its entirety here:

Mar 14, 2016

Makigami Koichi joins Ikue Mori's residencies at the Stone NYC on May 17 & 19

In May, Makigami Koichi goes to New York City to perform at the Stone, the hotbed for NY downtown scene. It's a part of Ikue Mori's residencies at the venue and the line-up is as follows:

5/17 Tuesday (BM)
8 pm
Ikue Mori, John Zorn, Jim Staley and Koichi Makigami (voice)
Ikue Mori (electronics) John Zorn (sax) Jim Staley (trombone) Koichi Makigami (voice)

10 pm
Ikue Mori and Koichi Makigami
Ikue Mori (electronics) Koichi Makigami (voice)

5/19 Thursday (DDT)
10 pm
Improv set with Ikue Mori, Sylvie Courvoisier, Okkyung Lee, Jim Black, Makigami Koichi
Ikue Mori (electronics) Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) Okkyung Lee (cello) Jim Black (drums) Makigami Koichi (voice)

For details, please refer to the Stone website.

Mar 11, 2016

Gigs in April 2016

Unfortunately there is no Hikashu gig in March, but in April they are back to the live circuit. That month they have two gigs in Tokyo - April 1st at Hearts+ of Otsuka, and April 27th at Star Pine's Cafe in Kichijoji.

April 1, 2016
@ Hearts+
Otsuka, Tokyo
other act: Kyuchusen, Muteki Candy
open 18:30 - start 19:00
adv 2,500 yen - at door 3,000 yen

Hearts+, Otsuka, Tokyo

April 27, 2016
@ Star Pine's Cafe
Kichijoji, Tokyo
open 18:30 - start 19:30
adv 3,900 yen - at door 4,300 yen

Star Pine's Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo