Pizzicato Five

Full Discography

  • Five By Five - - 1994-07-20
  • Made in the USA - - 1994-10-11
  • The Sound of Music By Pizzicato Five - - 1995-10-31
  • Happy Sad / Unzipped - - 1995-09-19
  • Happy End of the World - - 1997-09-09
  • Remix Album: Happy End of You - - 1998-05-05
  • Playboy & Playgirl - - 1999-04-20
  • The Fifth Release from Matador - ole-415 - 2000-11-14



Playboy & Playgirl
April 20, 1999

"P5 mastermind Yasuharu Konishi filches snippets spanning the decades and crossing various genres, from Serge Gainsbourg to Lena Horne to Saint Etienne. Throw in sultry vocalist Maki and it adds up to a shower of oh-so-groovy trances and uptempo beats--an electronic vaudeville show that's magically delicious." --John Elsasser, Magnet

Tokyo's PIZZICATO FIVE turns moody and introspective, even minor-key, on the group's fourth US album. In a departure from the drum-and-bass-influenced stylings of their previous record Happy End Of The World and its companion remix volume, the seminal Shibuya-kei duo of Yasuharu Konishi and Nomiya Maki now take inspiration from the soft-rock arrangements of Curt Boettcher and Jimmy Webb (The Fifth Dimension, The Association). Harpsichords, lush orchestrations, and multi-part harmonies are the score for this rich, slightly uneasy record.

This is not to say PIZZICATO FIVE has given up the cartoonish joy that informs all Yasuharu and Nomiya's work; indeed, Playboy and Playgirl is most reminiscent of the hugely successful American debut Made in USA. "Concerto" and "Magic Twin Candle Tale" are upbeat, danceable romps that are impossible not to sing along to (if you know Japanese). The sly, grooving horns of "Such A Beautiful Girl Like You" and the stomping go-go beat of "Playboy, Playgirl" make a perfect soundtrack for an evening out at your favorite bar or brothel.

Currently, Yasuharu Konishi is deeply involved in a project which may result in a film and album co-release, so PIZZICATO FIVE won't be touring the US this year. Yet, the more inspired dance clubs shall certainly be making their presence known.




Remix Album: Happy End of You
May 5, 1998

Twelve remixes from Pizzicato Five's September album Happy End of the World. Each remix was released throughout Fall 1997 on limited-edition (1500 copies or less) 12" vinyl. Now the double LP and CD collects one of each remix.

THE AUTOMATOR: The genius behind Doctor Octagon, Dan Nakemura spins P5's light-hearted pop into a terrifying, operatic mess.

808 STATE: Seminal British techno pioneers strip "Trailer Music" down to beat essentials.

DIMITRI FROM PARIS: French house impresario revisits Arthur Baker-period New Order -- or is that New Order-period Arthur Baker?

GUSGUS: Iceland's finest implement deconstructed breakbeats and machine language on P5.

DADDY-0: MC of old-skool hip-hop act Stetsasonic (A.F.R.I.C.A.) returns triumphant to record.

OVAL: German ambient scientist refrigerates "Happy Ending" in aural formaldehyde.

JOHN OSWALD: Canadian college professor (of Plunderphonics) takes the melody lines and pitches them one-half through one whole tone apart over four drum tracks.

SAINT ETIENNE: British dance pop auteurs get funky with Beach Boys arrangements.

MOMUS: Singular British intellectual poet-type dispenses with the beats in favor of melodies.

DJ DARA THE SHOOTER: NYC drum'n'bass masters battle for ascendancy over "Porno 3003"

DANIEL MILLER/GARETH JONES: Mute Records president and the man behind seminal industrial group The Normal teams with Sun Roof partner Gareth Jones to produce 18 minutes of electronic noise heaviness. The coolest meeting of electronics past and future that we've heard in recent years.

HIGH LLAMAS: Did not appear in the 12" series ! Exclusive track to the dbl LP and CD.



  Happy End of the World
September 9, 1997

The new Pizzicato 5 record is a thoroughly modern outing, their third US release, and the first consisting of all-new material (their previous two Matador releases were essentially "greatest hits" collections from their countless Japanese releases). Genuine Top 40 superstars in Japan, this fierce style duo have nonetheless continued to stretch boundaries and banish the artificial genre lines that divide music in the West.

This time out, it's a heavily rhythmic affair, reflecting Pizzicato 5 mastermind Yasuharu Konishi's recent experience as an internationally-renowned DJ. Matador club denizen Hosi Simon points out that "the new P5 record is very amazing, especially for one reason. The emergence of drum & bass today is the same as hip hop in the early 80s; it is clear that breakbeats are going to become part of pop music just as hip hop or house beats are today. The new P5 record is one of the first pop records (the only other that comes to mind is the latest Everything But The Girl record) to use breakbeats instead of the usual 'disco beats.' If you accept that, in five years, the incorporation of breakbeats into pop songs will be commonplace, then P5 have made a very prescient and 'out there' record."

Atop Konishi-san's inventive rhythms are placed such diverse influences as Serge Gainsbourg, Harpers Bizarre, Lena Horne, The West Coast Experimental Pop Art Band, St. Etienne, and Squarepusher. Indeed, not since Kraftwerk has a band been able to conjure the future by referring to the past and make it seem as strange, glamorous, and relevant as this. As sung by muse, diva, and international superstar Maki Nomiya, these songs are as addictive as any you'll hear this year.



  Happy Sad / Unzipped
September 19, 1995

Simultaneously the single from the fall 1995 album The Sound of Music By Pizzicato Five and the soundtrack to the Douglas Keeve biopic on fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, this beautiful little single contains "Happy Sad" from the movie backed with "If I Were A Groupie," both songs from the album.



  The Sound of Music By Pizzicato Five
October 31, 1995

The second U.S. release from Pizzicato Five showcases their versatility even better than Made In USA to evocations of Swinging London in "Strawberry Sleighride" and "Sophisticated Catchy" and full new-wave tribute action in their cover of the Plastics' "Good!" Slick packaging includes a thick printed plastic bag with flap encasing an extra-width jacket. Early copies contain a P5 fan club "credit card."



  Made in the USA
October 11, 1994

Pizzicato Five are ready for America, but is America ready for Pizzicato Five? I mean, when it comes to pop music in this country, it seems that we can only digest one idea at a time. Looking at the current state of rap, power ballads, techno and (dread of all dreads) alternative music, we have one artist, one song, one idea-and incidentally-quite often a not very good one either. Pizzicato Five, two men and one woman, all hailing from Tokyo, are like a hyper-active popcorn popper when it comes to ideas. Ideas about image (public and private), ideas about sounds, fashion, design, art, you name it. Within the realms of their ten year legacy they've probably executed every thing I could think up.

As bizarre as this all will sound, Pizzicato Five are a pretty big deal in Japan. Their records are top 40 on the national charts, they have done TV appearances ranging from kiddie shows to teen shows to straight music shows, Maki's amazing fashion sensibilities (she designs her own stuff and claims that she likes "Fashion that is cute, gorgeous and in bad taste") has had her featured in pretty much any Japanese fashion mag you'd care to mention.

Pizzicato Five are encompassing pop culture with an enthusiasm that Malcolm McLaren never could muster, even if he found himself in bed with Madonna, Trevor Horn and John Waters at the same time. Pizzicato Five are ultra-hipsters, they have truly gone beyond the valley of the hip, walked in the shadow of the valley of overkill, and come out smiling on the other side.

Pizzicato Five's sense of style, musical as well as visual, divides and conquers in a way since no one. The unbelievable jams are a convoluted mixture of disco, 60's soul, exotica, Japanese pop and what have-you executed with an irreverence and basic sense of iconoclasm that is more punk rock than a battalion of Green Days.

The grasp and the skill in distinguishing between unchi and shinola developed within the context of the Pizzicato Five is done with an Occham's razor that RuPaul, Deee-Lite or even the Pet Shop Boys (god bless 'em) never could have wielded, you see, Pizzicato Five have one great advantage over these self-referential pop iconoclasts, they're Japanese!

From the early years, circa 1984-1985, when the duo of Takanami and Konishi were just another couple of college students with hyperactive imaginations running around in the same art/music/goofus circles as Ryuichi Sakamoto of yellow Magic Orchestra, to the bombastic multi-media extravaganza of their two New Music Seminar live shows, Pizzicato Five have obsessed over the most absolute and defined stratas of cool, chic and snappy. Hey, those chicks in the Truffaut-movies, "Breakfast at Tiffany's, Wilson Pickett, Burt Bacharach, Juan Garcia Esquivel, Bootsy Collins, Paris-Flash Magazine, 1960 s retro-futurism, all that stuff.

I can't hype these guys enough. Pizzicato Five relate to pop music in the same manner as Ingmar Bergman relates to anxiety. Their over-active imaginations breathe the same air as the Bonzo Dog Band, their sense of style has been seen leaving Neil Tennant's house at six in the morning. Their sex appeal could make a waif-model go to the Carneige Deli for lunch.



  Five By Five
July 20, 1994

Japan's superstars Maki, K-Taro and Konishi present their US debut. Following 14 albums and platinum sales in the home country, P5 saw no reason not to favor America with their exceedingly cool blend of cocktail lounge style, Burt Bachrach soundtracks, pop hooks and heavy beats. With a merchandise catalog the size of the Sears Christmas Wish Book, Pizzicato Five return us to the days of Twiggy, mohair sweaters, Casino Royale and Phase 4 Stereophonic sound, projected through a dazzling Japanese aesthetic sensibility and serious dance jams. Some of the microphones used are:the Telefunken U-47, the RCA-44 BX, Telefunken KM 56, Altec 639 B, RCA-77D and special Church microphones. Don't miss the supermodel, superfly, super hi-fi extravaganza -- buy now and buy big. OK!

Pre-blog News


We are pleased and relieved to announce that the new Pizzicato Five album, imaginatively titled ‘The Fifth Release From Matador,’ will be released on November 14. 

Let's announce the track listing for Matador's Tenth Anniversary Compilation video to be released on VHS and DVD on September 14, shall we? "Everything Is Nice" is the title. The DVD version will also include "What's Up, Matador?" in its entirety. How's that for value?

Pavement — Range Life
Cat Power — Cross Bones Style 
Chavez — Break Up Your Band 
Solex — Solex All Licketysplit 
Cornelius — Star Fruits Surf Rider 
Arsonists — Pyromaniax/Backdraft 
Yo La Tengo — Sugarcube 
JSBX — Talk About the Blues 
Helium — Honeycomb 
Guitar Wolf — Jet Generation 
Pizzicato 5 — I Hear a Symphony 
Cat Power — Nude As The News

CNN Worldbeat will be featuring Pizzicato Five and portions from their "Playboy Playgirl" video during a show about Japanese pop on Saturday, June 12th. The show will air that evening at midnight EDT and then again the following day (Sunday, June 13th at 3:30pm EDT). Checkwww.cnn.com/worldbeat for specific times in your area

Pizzicato Five has released a new CD5 maxi titled "Darlin' of Discotheque EP", available only in Japan. The songs are: 

1. darlin' of discotheque
2. one two three four five six seven eight nine ten barbie dolls
3. tout, tout pour ma cherie
4. jolly bubbly lovely
5. darlin' of discotheque (radio edit) 

It's become an instant hit on the Japanese national single chart, shooting straight to No. 38. We've not yet heard it, but these figures indicate it must be discolicious!

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