The 1st of May was a fine day to bring out a record.…
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Kicell is a dream, Kicell is a journey, a folk pop sound to carry you to places in the memory that time has erased. Escape the agoraphobic blue skies and get down, all the way down to destinations unknown. Take the epic, lyrical stroll through Kicell’s surrealist lands. Not rock but roll, measured background rhythms that push towards emotional harmonised summits, the distinctive trait the timbre of Takefumi Tsujimura’s voice, one in a thousand, clear, fragile, delicate and precise, like the point of a needle.
Kicell is two brothers: the big one, Takefumi Tsujimura (vocal, guitar), and the little one, Tomoharu Tsujimura (vocal, bass and musical saw). Takefumi is deep, an introvert. Tomoharu is more distracted yet delicate. Takefumi was already recording his songs on a four-track, doubling his own voice, when they started playing together in 1999. The brothers’ voices are very similar and this is what gives such a recognisable balance to their work. Takefumi’s passionate love stories become experimental pop in Tomoharu’s hands and the fusion/separation inherent in their arrangements is what gives Kicell its force.
Kicell have released 5 albums since October 2000, the date when they left their native Kyoto to head for Tokyo. All have sold over 20,000 copies. The last to date, “Magic Hour” (2008), has a tragic beauty and is out on Kakubarhythm (Sakerock, Illreme). It is an amazingly produced post-pop opus, a success. Emerson Kitamura (Jagatara, Mute Beat), the discrete third member, sometimes joins them both for recordings and on stage. Emerson adds a very light dub touch to the Kicell sound and the odd melodic line that really hits the spot.
Kicell were invited to play in New York in 2005 by the celebrated artist entrepreneur, Takashi Murakami but they are still mostly unknown outside Japan. They seem to lack a little confidence in themselves, as if their influences (Robert Wyatt, Sigur Rós and Young Marble Giants) might betray them abroad. Of course, we can all be blind to our own originality, but it’s time for Kicell to leave Japan and find new audiences. There can be no doubt that reaction to their quality and adventure will be positive. Could this be the beginning of a new Kicell chapter?
© 2008 text: Franck Stofer, translation: Jack Sims, photo: Eric Bossick