CHRISTINE 23 ONNA

Japanese


c23o.jpgFormed in 1993 as a duo by Yamazaki Maso and guitarist Toda Fusao from Angel'in Heavy Syrup, Christine 23 Onna is described by the band themselves as a "space mondo psychedelic group."

Angel'in Heavy Syrup were formed in Osaka in 1989 by Nakao Mine and Itakura Mineko. After gaining Jojo Hiroshige as their producer/svengali, the group released their debut CD on Alchemy in 1991. Fusao joined the group at this point, bringing a new depth to their musical expression. The all-female band have grown into a group of rare and world-class sensitivity. With their roots in psychedelic and progressive rock, the group have been lauded for their dreamy sound and their delicate and pretty vocals, infused with a very Japanese sense of lyricism. They have released four albums, and have opened for the twin godheads of space psychedelic rock, Hawkwind and Gong.

The sound of Christine 23 Onna is very different to that of Masonna, Space Machine, or that of Angel'in Heavy Syrup. It is based around a fusion of the psychedelic phrases of accomplished guitarist and composer Fusao, and the spacey electronics of Yamazaki. The pair are also responsible for two of the weirdest shops in Osaka's trendy Shinsaibashi area: Fusao's Freak Scene which specializes in vintage kitsch and psychedelic clothing, while in the same building Yamazaki is manager of the Alchemy Music Store, a mecca for fans of noise, psych, prog and all other bizarre musics. While the music of Christine 23 Onna is experimental, at the same time there is something about its pop fashion sense that would make it the perfect colorful, acid soundtrack for trips both good and bad at some hip, astro-modernist, interior-designed go-go lounge - all shimmering crystals, glass beads, fluorescent plastic and shining metallic finishes. Unusual for any project involving Yamazaki, this one has groovy repeating beats and a clear sense of compositional structure.

Live performances by the group have included witty cover versions of such obscurities as Afterglow's "Suzy's Gone", the C.A. Quintet's "Trip Thru Hell", Cromagnon's "New Caledonia", and Tony Conrad with Faust's "Outside the Dream Syndicate". From 2001, live performances have included two additional members and have concentrated on full band versions of their original compositions. However, for future recording purposes the group still consists of just Yamazaki and Fusao.

(Text: Higashiseto Satoru/ English Translation: Alan Cummings)
[Autumn 2002]



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