Konishi Yasuharu

Emperor's Closet

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Collecting all the tracks that Yasuharu Konishi wrote, arranged, or remixed from his debut in 1985 to the time of this CD release (1995) would possibly take up ten CDs, but this is a fairly decent overview of his work outside of Pizzicato Five. Don't look for a comprehensive understanding of Konishi's development as a talent -- for many of these tracks, he's mostly a hired gun for Japanese singers of varying skill. But there are some songs that rival his work with the group: Bazaar's version of "Sex Machine," a Prince-like stomper that Pizzicato Five later covered; the go-go meets Motown silliness of Masamichi Sugi's "Boku No Pin-Up Girl"; the poppy "Dakishimetai" by Mutsumi Inoue. But by far the best track here is his arrangement of Tomoko Tane's "Blue Light Yokohama," itself a cover of the 1969 hit single by Ayumi Ishida. Featuring Maki Nomiya reading an introductory work of prose, Tane's amazing voice floats over an arrangement that constantly evolves from piano-led rumination to breakbeats to sampladelica, backed up by her own multi-tracked chorus. Konishi downplays his role in the production, but it probably couldn't have happened without him. Worth the price of the CD alone.

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