Boomkat Product Review:
Loren Connors’ Family Vineyard reissue Hisato Higuchi’s compelling 2003 debut, She; newly expanded with two bonus tracks from the original sessions and remastered by Taylor Deupree. Family Vineyard were the first label to release Higuchi’s music outside Japan with Dialogue , so their reissue of his debut EP of “Tokyo’s laborer’s blues”, replete with new artwork by the quiet man himself, is pretty apt.
Our memorable first encounter of Higuchi’s barely-there sound came with his part of the Tsuki No Seika Volume Four 7” split with Zelionople in 2011, and after being reminded of that song’s frail beauty with his most recent side for Root Strata, Kietsuzukeru Echo = 消え続けるエコー this reissue offers an often shocking demonstration of his formative phase, a sound riddled with noise and blistering distortion in a way we would never have predicted.
Those gender-uncertain vocals, precise acoustic strums and the hiss of background noise are all in place from his later releases, but the seemingly haphazard bursts of neon fizz and electrical disturbances that light up and sharply contrast his acoustic parts lend She a whole other, thrilling dimension that boldly messes with expectations or presumptions.
As Family Vineyard put it, “the delicate song textures of She capture the utter feeling of loneliness and a sleep-deprived mind staring off into a blurry sky”. And it’s not hard to see that imagery hauntingly reflected in the new cover artwork - a distant red cross (pharmacy or church?) in acres of negative space - as much as the music, with sublime scene-setters such as the ghostly peal of Sirens sharing late night headspace with the sallow strums of Ghosts Ghosts and its pranging shards of noise, which also feature in a new Ghost Ghosts (Alternative take) and the solitary intimacy of Speed.