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Nagisa Ni te: The Same As A Flower

Nagisa Ni te: The Same As A Flower


By Raymond Cummings | Posted 3/30/2005

Japan’s Nagisa Ni te likes its psychedelia on the subtle, sublime side. The Same as a Flower has the pretty, not-quite-right air of folk sushi as experienced by someone who’s been awake for 30 straight hours. The soundscapes that Shinji Shibayama, Masako Takeda, and a handful of helpers paint shimmer and bend here like waking dreams, fertile ground for their mother-tongued, nature-kid exultations (English translations provided in the liner notes).

Over a lazy, hazy bit of guitar bauble, “River” imposes Shibayama vocal atop Takeda vocal atop Shibayama vocal atop Takeda vocal, and on and on, until the gaseous, unisex hum of voices threatens to float the song into the stratosphere. Takeda’s tentative, echo-membraned murmurs drift through the hushed, multifaceted soak of “A Light.” Bowlegged crunch walk drumming meets percussive guitar jabs and subdermal harmonizing on “Threads of Souls.”

More rock-oriented, “After a Song” and the title track are wide-screen, tears-of-joy duets that sweep like refugees from some big-budget 1970s musical about sun-worshipping cultists who subsist solely on pears. Flowers closes with “Hope,” a piece as spare and lovely as a bamboo plant detailed in oil on a white canvas: Takeda sings high and with deliberate care, a nylon-strung guitar matching and telegraphing her vocal steps, cymbals splashing far, far away.

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