LOW STOCK LEVEL
On The Love Beach
"Reissues of the three Nagisa Ni Te albums originally released on the Osaka-based, barely distributed Org label. Org are probably best known for the monumental Return To Rock Mass 3CD by primitive mystics Maher Shalal Hash Baz, portions of which were reissued in a more user-friendly form on the recent Geographic retrospective, From A Summer To Another Summer (An Egypt To Another Egypt). But delving deeper into the Org label can turn up a clutch of other lo-fi psych-pop gems. Perhaps chief amongst them are the albums by label head Shinji Shibayama. Shibayama has been a mysteriously central figure in the Kansai psych underground since the '80s, showing up a clutch of barely documented units like Idiot O'Clock, Yakeppachi no Maria, Hallelujahs (whose sole album of misty folk-psych was the first release on Org and was later reissued by PSF), Love Beach, Cold Breath (in the rain) Rock n Roll Band, and probably several more. Nagisa Ni Te is his crowning moment, though. Their three albums are wide-eyed and wonderful paeans to the delights of love and togetherness (the group's core is Shibayama and his partner-muse Masako Takeda) that seem permeated on some cellular level with a power to invoke memory. Dreamily recollected feelings of wistful regret at the end of the summer holidays, unforgettable reveries, and joyful instances of boy-girl oneness when time seems to stop. Moments of childlike wonder-melody are wrapped up in arrangements that are at once spontaneous and perfectly realised. Honesty and direct simplicity are the keynotes, songs sometimes trembling on that ever so fine edge between profundity and profound embarrassment as songs are stripped back to the bare bones of punk emotiveness. At times, Shinji and Masako's vocals crack and tremble, the acoustic strumming falters, and they seem on the verge of plummeting into an abyss of abject amateur ineptitude, borne up merely by the thinnest layer of conviction and deep truth. It would be a mistake, however, to try to rank Nagisa Ni Te with the (perceived) innocence of your Shonen Knifes. While they do aim to evoke childhood experience and response, this is a deliberate attempt to create a simpler personal world, one that finds its own values far from the everyday realities of life in an Osaka suburb. Furthermore, the pop sensibility that informs the group's music is one that has drunk deep on Tims Hardin and Buckley, the Velvets, Kevin Ayers, Leonard Cohen, Peter Ivers, Anthony Moore, Fujio Yamaguchi -- wherever blinding instants of musical epiphany have seized the quiet soul, Nagisa Ni Te have followed. In a way, their exploration of emotions and everyday satoris are as single-minded as Merzbow's is of noise, or Haino's is of mystery. Each of their albums has something unique to recommend it. The debut, On The Love Beach, is essentially a Shibayama solo album, with overdubbed contributions from a clutch of friends, including Chie Mukai, Kenichi 'Idiot' Takayama, early Hijokaidan member Naoki Zushi, Maher-ists Tori Kudo and Hiro Nakazaki, and drummer Ikuro Takahashi. On the original Org release, Masako was credited with (no sniggering at the back) 'wind' throughout. It's perhaps the most pop of the three releases, focusing as it does on Shibayama's vocals. The way the rhythm slows for an instant before the closing fuzz guitar solo on the title track still raises chills no matter how many times I hear it." --Alan Cummings/Oppobrium. Originally issued as ORG-007 in Nov. 1995.