Last updated 11.4.3
(*) means I don't own this album and haven't listened to it.
(@) means I don't own this album but have listened to it.
thanks to Terry Green, Buggle
Some recent releases on the Tzadik label
Makigami's Myspace Hikashu's Myspace
Japanese language official tweets @hikashu makigami
Hikashu Appreciation Society blog in English (doesn't seem official, but it has good info)
Hikashu is a long running sort of avant garde pop performance ensemble started in the late 1970s. Koichi Makigami is the lead vocalist and writes most of the material. He said they were "Like a play pretending to be a band"
From a synth standpoint Makoto Inoue and Yasushi Yamashita played synths in the original line up (which sounds to me generally more synth-oriented than later lineups), they left in the early 80s and among other things formed a synth duo Inoyama Land. For quite a while Hikashu used an alternative English spelling, Hikasu, without the second "h".
(*) 1978 Spring Pre Hikashu (released 1999 on Transonic)
There isn't just a pre-first album (below) but this, a pre-pre first album! I don't know much about the details, presumably this was just before the band properly formed in 1978
96.11.7 Toshiba cd: EMI TOCT-9683, possibly first commercially released in 1993
My understanding was this was a demo album made in 1978 as the date says
The song selection is much the same as the self titled actual album debut (below) from 1980 but the playing order and the arangements are a bit earlier and I guess a little more raw. The CD release includes a 22 page booklet with interviews and a CD-ROM section including some vintage clips in Quicktime.
(*)79.10/00 Toshiba/EMI-Eastworld 7" EWR-20626
First major label single
80.02.05 Toshiba/EMI-Eastworld lp: EWS-81292, CD: TOCT-6979, 2009 remaster Bridge EGDS-41
Both catchy and a technopop classic! This would be their "proper" first album and definitely the first album to get a proper release. Many memorable songs.
One CD of this album is called HIKASU +2 Toshiba/EMI-Eastworld TOCT-6979 presumably the +2 means 2 bonus tracks were added to the original LP.
There was a 1987 2CD release coupling Hikasu and the following album Natsu (CT22-5086~7)
80.07.21 Toshiba/EMI-Eastworld lp: EWS-81345, 2009 remaster CD Bridge EGDS-42
As sort of expected from the close date to the prior album, this one was Hikasu's other main technopop style album. The famous track on this one I woudl say is Pike , which has been covered several times by other bands.
While there was a Natsu +2 version of this album, it seems to have gone out of print by the time I started looking for it (TOCT-6980) so I've only caught a friend's copy
(*) 80.07.21Toshiba EMI-Eastworld 7" EWS-17025
I single out this single out because I understand the B side is the same song sung in English. I've not heard it yet
Uwasa no Jinrui
81.05.21Toshiba/EMI-Eastworld lp: EWS-91023 cd: TOCT-10048 (slimline case), TOCT-25174
This third album with a Keiichi Ohta cover sort of moves into a stranger musical world. As with most albums, Makagami writes almost all the songs and his voice is distinctive as always, Inoue and Yamashita still play synths but to me its somewhat more dramatic and mysterious. Out of print as of 2011.
1981 Toshiba, 2009 CD remaster Bridge EGDS-43
This seems to be a reworked/re-recorded best of with 2 live tracks.
(*) several albums follow, I haven't heard them and only have basic info
Watashi No Tanoshimi (1984)
Mizuni Nagashite (1984)
Soba de yokereba (1985)
Nani mo kamo Odore (1987) cassette only release
1988 Panam/Nippon Crown cd:CRCP-168, Bridge remaster CD 2010 EGDS-55
This one I have. The cover art has a sort of painting of a red face. This one is somewhat reliant on Japanese lyrics with okay but not a standout arrangement but has enough solid melody/singing/song structure to keep me interested. Much less synth based than the earlier albums.
the title track was also released as a single backed with Tengoku Wo Nozokitai
(*) More albums I've not heard yet:
HIKASU Live (1989)
TEICHOUNA OMOTENASHI (1990)
Humming Soon (HANAUTAHAJIME 1991)
OGUS 02 (1993 anime soundtrack)
LONDON EYE & PARIS EYE (Atti No Me Kotti No Me )
1993 Tokuma CD TKCA-70165
This album was recorded in a Berlin studio probably during a European tour.The songs have the theatrics and strange turns as is expected with good fidelity. Perhaps more avant garde-isms than their 80s work but they also can be quite smooth. A 6 member band with a couple guests.
96.12.21Toshiba EMI cd: TOCT9775
Myxomycetes seems to be pictured on the cover and is a fungus of some sort that Makigami felt was reminicent of Hikasu. This is an album of newly recorded previous songs with generally a more avant garde group of 7 Hikashu members and other guest musicians. One song was recorded with an orchestra in Slovakia. The lyrics and notes are translated into English in the booklet.
2001 Tzadik (U.S.) TZ7235
Looking at it before listening this album appears to be a sort of best of greatest hits, reading the label the obi's english text its clear that this is a compilation of "private tapes, rare demos and exciting live recordings" which sums it up quite well. The 22 tracks date between 1977-1993. I guess the minor downside might be from a technopop viewpoint, all their well known songs are included, but to those who don't know the songs you aren't getting the original studio versions. Also no translations . The definite plus is most if not all of these recordings are out for the first time, and on a low priced well made U.S. release. Included are also some well engineered live radio performances so those certainly are very hi-fi.
96.8.28 Toshiba/EMI cd: TOCT-9558
1. Rhetoric & Logic (Susumu Yokota)
2. model (Ken Ishii - so this track is a remix of a Kraftwerk cover!)
3. puyopuyo (yoshinori sunahara)
4. the song for the eyes (quadra)
5. yochu no kiki (fumiya tanaka)
6. a mysterious spell (yoshihiro sawasaki)
7. pike (takQ ishino)
8. dekigoto (kagami)
9. to icecrone (akio yamamoto)
Far better than many remixes, the Sunahara with a sort of sitar psychadelia twist is the standout.
Musique Non Stop
A Tribute to Kraftwerk
98.9.23 Toshiba/EMI cd: TOCT-10455
A tribute album put together by Koichi Makigami of Hikashu. One could quibble- no YMO, the most impressive track, Buffalo Daughter's Autobahn is also the nearest to a re-creation, etc. Still its quite entertaining. Highlights that struck me are Makigami's strong vocals, Maywa Denki's electro mechanical not electronic sound, Makoto Inoue's traditional Japanese sounds (though sampled).
[brackets indicate current or former bands these people were in]
The Radioactive Tribute To Kraftwerk
(*)2002 New Mantra (France) MAN5992
This was re-released in France a couple years later. I've not heard exactly who was responsible for this version nor seen the CD booklet which I'm kind of curious about. It does seem the be mostly the same material as the all Japanese album with noisy acts like Zeni Geva and Melt Banana replaced by Senor Coconut (with a typo additional "s" among other possible typos on some track names) and some Scandanavian? acts I'm unfamiliar with. I guess Yamashita got bumped off too.
(*) TRIBUTE TO HIKASU End of the 20th century (LABSICK RECORDS LAB-006) seems to have different bands including Makigami covering the song "At the End of the 20th Century" since the song's title was literal at the time.
Minzoku No Saiten
1982 LP Toshiba EMI WTP-90153, 2009 CD Bridge EGDS-44
This is a Makigami solo album backed by Hikashu. Hajime Tachibana and Koji Ueno each play on a couple tracks. Jun Togawa duets on one. These are witty covers of standards along with a pair of original Makigami compositions. Cover art by Tachibana
I've not heard these yet:
Koroshi No Blues
(*) 1992 CD TOCT-6496, 2009 Bridge CD EGDS-45
(*) 1995 TZADIK (U.S) TZ7208
Seems to be solo voice with no electronoics or overdubs
(*) 1998 TZADIK (U.S.)
this one is a jaw harp duet with Anton Bruhin
Inoyama Land is a band comprised of ex-Hikasu members Makoto Inoue and Yasushi Yamashita
1983 Alfa/Yen Medium lp: YLR-22003, ALCA-9167
Hosono produced. Very ambient. Seemingly recorded with a speaker and a mic submerged in a fish tank! Don't expect anything fast moving. Not currently available on CD
albums I've not heard:
Inoyama Land (1997 on Transonic)
1984 Pithecanthropus [live, released1999 but presumably vintage recordings)
1998.08.5 Transonic TRS-25025
This is ambient synth music sometimes with simple melodies, pure sounds. It seems to be background music for an exhibit of closeup pictures fungus. There is also a suite Music for Ozone. One track is as early as 1977 and only 3 of the 11 are writing credited to both of the 2 members, most tracks seem to be one or the other. The earlier Hikasu album also with subject of Myxomycetes seems ironic - I assume they were both inspired by photographs? The duet did not participate on the Hikashu 1996 album.
Godzilla Legend - 1983? King LP, 1986 CD King/Star Child K32X 7032 renamed Chronology 1
Godzilla Legend 2 - (*) 1983? King LP, 1986 CD King/Star Child K32X 7033 renamed Chronology 2
Godzilla Legend 3 - (*) 1984? Part of LP set?, Part of CD set renamed Chronology 3
Godzilla Legend Box - (*) 1991 reissue with bonus tracks KICA-72,73,74
I'm still sorting out the details. From 1983-1984 Inoue did 3 synth
cover volumes of the soundtracks to classic Toho Godzilla related films (Toho Special Effects films) entitled
Godzilla Legend (Godzilla Legend 2 and 3). As far as I can tell the
3rd one was only released as part of a boxed set of all 3 called Chronology.Then
the first 2 were reissued as CDs and finally in a CD boxed set Godzilla
Legend Box (1991) of all 3 with bonus tracks. They are no longer available (as of 2011 I see used copies going for over US $500). They have very cool is guests include (not necessarily on all 3 volumes) Koichi Makagami,
Koji Ueno, Hajime Tachibana and Jun Togawa(!!) These appear to be made Toho's cooperation and I've seen an authorized VHS tape of re-edited sequecnces called Godzilla Symphonic Fantasia I think that uses some of the tracks as well as other orchestrated material. I had heard a rumor that since these were as far as I know authorized they would be added as bonus discs on the Godzilla Soundtrack Perfect Collection CD boxes Toho sold online direct in the late 2000s, but all the volumes are out now, so unless they create a surprise 7th box they are not included. I think occasional spare tracks have showed up as bonuses on some other non-Godzilla giant monster/science fiction CD soundtracks.
Also Pigumario (1985) Billed as Makoto Inoue & Hikasu Family, no further info
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