Combining a romantic dreaminess with a massive array of instruments, occasionally heavy guitars, and fragile pop melodies, the Japanese folk-psych band Nagisa Ni Te (On the Beach) is among the most innovative and eclectic groups of the late '90s. Consisting of multi-instrumentalist Shinjii Shibayama, and his partner and musical inspiration Masako Takeda, the group has been compared to a wide range of experimental and emotionally direct groups from the Velvet Underground to Belle and Sebastian.
Nagisa Ni Te (On the Beach) originally consisted of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shinjii Shibayama, vocalist Masako Takeda, and drummer Ikuro Takahashi. Takahashi would leave after the band's third effort. Shibayama had previously recorded under the name of Team Spirit and then with the influential pop-psychedelic group the Hallelujahs while forming the famous Org label that released some of the most legendary Japanese experimental rock music of the 1980s. After the Hallelujahs broke up in 1988, Shibayama spent a few years away from music before meeting Tekeda. The band's debut, On the Beach, however, was mostly a solo effort with Tekeda only credited with "wind." The group's second effort, The True Sun (1998), was a recording of an all-acoustic gig, with more of a presence by Masako, but also with a more Spartan sound. The True World (1999) is perhaps the group's most varied record and was followed by Feel in 2001 and the lovely The Same as a Flower in 2004.[AMG Geoff Orens]