4-10-12 Pizzicato Five
Easy listening maven Martin Denny born 1911, reggae man Bunny Wailer born 1947; I own music by both.
For a while there in the 90’s, there was a band I was ‘following’: Pizzicato Five! My arc is pretty much ’93 – ’00, in keeping with the standard notion of 7 year arcs. My friend Ken sent me a cassette of Pizzicato Five, when he was living in Japan in the early 90’s – it had been recommended to him by Naoko, who sadly passed away in 2001.
I first met Yasuharu Konishi in 1994 or so – when P5 came to Los Angeles. They were easy to approach, as they had American NYC managers, Tom & Terry. Also in 1994, I went to Tokyo with Ken. Right off the bat, I got to see Maki Nomiya perform live at a Marc Bolan tribute show @ Nissan Power Station in Shinjuku!
Nothing can prepare you for the glory of Japanese record stores in the 90’s – the creepy old stuff was still there (such as “Time” in Takadanobaba), but groovy new boutique shops were opening all over town (Zest in Udagawa-cho comes to mind). There were TONS of Pizzicato Five (and related) CD’s to buy! But, then, you discovered an entire alternate universe of “Friends of Pizzicato 5” – people like Keigo Oyamada (aka Cornelius) and his label, Trattoria Records.
Eventually, Konishi got his own imprint via Nippon Columbia Records (Readymade, AKA ********* Records) – he released cool stuff like 5th Garden (Comoesta Yagaeshi) and Fantastic Plastic Machine (Tomoyuki Tanaka) – records made from records!
Pizzicato Five imploded in 2001, one (or both?) of them could no longer do it. Nippon Columbia and their previous label, Sony Records, duly re-issued everything a couple of times, sometimes creating something ‘new’ (such as an instrumental version of “Couples”, now called “A Quiet Couple” on Sony).
I got a solo album by Maki Nomiya, created by various producers – but it didn’t stick. And last year, I got “Pizzicato 1”, the new Konishi solo album on Universal Japan – it, too, doesn’t quite fit the bill.
I decided to write this blog this AM, as I have been driving around listening to Volume 2 of the “Big Hits and Jet Lags” collection series. Everything on it is familiar, but Konishi has tweaked everything – keys changed, voices overdubbed, tempos sped up etc. Still, it reminded me of what a fun time I had for a few years.
Stuff from Japan is expensive these days – but if you wanna hear what was going on, I recommend “Bossa Nova 2001” (1993) on Triad / Nippon Columbia. Ignore the US CD’s of Pizzicato 5, they’re mostly just mashed up Japanese albums. I believe my name is in the booklet found in the Japanese edition of “Romantique 96” – for a while, I helped Konishi and his friends find rare records.
CD BOSSA NOVA 2001 TRIAD JPN COCA-10837 1993
16 TRKS slipcase, autographed
CD EXPO 2001 TRIAD JPN COCA-11243 1993
9 TRKS remixes, plastic slipcase
LPx2 FREE SOUL 2001 TRIAD JPN COJA-9154/5 1993
11 TRKS with poster
CD SOUVENIR 2001 TRIAD JPN COCA-10897 1993
15 TRKS remixes
Slightly different versions of the same album
CD OVERDOSE TRIAD JPN COCA-11999 1994
13 TRKS slipcase
Their follow-up to the big hit album
CD ROMANTIQUE 96 TRIAD JPN COCA-12886 1995
16 TRKS slipcase
Konishi’s self-referencing hit parade continues unabated
CD GREAT WHITE WONDER TRIAD JPN COCA-13713 1996 20 TRK collection
Yes, it’s a collection, but there was some very different material to be found here
CD HAPPY END OF THE WORLD TRIAD JPN COCA-14242 1997 13 TRKS special packaging
Their final astounding album, before the remixing disorientation set in