Ché-SHIZU - A Journey 2LPBlack Editions
Ché-SHIZU is one of the most original and mystifying groups to ever emerge from Japan's musical underground. Founded by master improviser Chie Mukai in 1981 the group has been guided by her singular vision for nearly 40 years. Ché-SHIZU challenges notions of song structure and improvisation, embracing a seemingly shambolic approach that on closer listen reveals a deeply coherent and surreal world. Mukai’s choice of ancient stringed instruments including the er-hu and the koky? as lead instruments only further sets the group apart. Even within the wildly diverse roster of artists championed by their Tokyo label PSF, Ché-SHIZU is a playful and confounding outlier.
Originally released in 1994, Ché-SHIZU’s second album A Journey – is a sprawling excursion through ethereal dreamscapes. The group performs a spontaneous, loose form of chamber pop that weaves folk and a light psychedelia into something entirely unique. Pop songs like “Juso Station” intersect with yearning instrumentals such as the title track to create a varied yet coherent improvisational language. The album invites listeners to take a journey through memories and dreams, to days gone by, to forests and mountain lakes, to haunting runs in the dark and bright morning illuminations. Beautifully clear in its production, A Journey has become a signature album in the group's catalog.