Pizzicato Five

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.

The Basics:

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

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