Nagisa Ni Te
The cover photograph for this record features Masako Takedo with long black hair hiding her face while bright-yellow flowers surround her in full bloom—not a bad visual metaphor for the sense of introspection and renewal within.
Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Nagisa Ni Te is the psychedelic folk duo of Shinji Shibayama and Takedo, who create radiant, minimalist folk with occasional electric guitar solos bursting through liquefied blue skies (shades of Velvet Underground and early Pink Floyd throughout).
On the twosome’s fourth record—the first to find American distribution—the shimmering pleasures are many, beginning with crisp production and a hypnotic blend of instruments, from mellotron and chamberlain to triangles, mini-gongs, ocarina, euphonium, metal trays, Leslie organ and 12-string acoustic guitars.
Shibayama and Takedo trade vocals on most of the songs, their male and female voices conveying a sweet mixture of childlike naiveté and pride in the surreal lyrics (sung in Japanese); lyrics that revolve around hazy reminiscences of loves lost, odes to their pet dogs (translated from “Song for Malo": “Eat your fill, sleep well, dream joyful dreams, looking at me with your damp nose/ I will always think of you") and blissful days spent in the sun or staring at stars. Simple, almost haiku-like songs that build a comfortable intimacy by album’s end.
This is an easy album to get lost in. Like a brilliant, Big Sur sunset party featuring slow campfire songs from Astrud Gilberto, it basks in the glow of harmonious moments. Two melting thumbs up.