Pizzicato Five has become well known outside of its Japanese borders for being one of the leaders of Shibuya-kei music in the 90s. And of course, who can ever forget the gorgeous and stylish Maki Nomiya（野宮真貴）? But Ms. Nomiya was actually lead vocal No. 3 of the trend-setting duo. There were predecessors.
The group started out as a quintet which almost immediately lost one member to become a foursome consisting of Yasuharu Konishi (小西康陽）who remained throughout), vocal Mamiko Sasaki（佐々木麻美子）, Keitaro Takanami（高浪慶太郎）, and Ryo Kamomiya（鴨宮諒）. Their very first release was"The Audrey Hepburn Complex" in August 1985, which was produced by Haruomi Hosono（細野晴臣） via his Non-Standard label. At the time, the band kept its name as "Pizzicato V".
"The Audrey Hepburn Complex", even from its title and Sasaki's visual sense, kinda foreshadowed where the the band was heading in a few years' time, but the song itself had this New Wave feeling with aidoru synths mixed in with some darker techno thrums. The interesting thing, though, was Sasaki's voice which had an even more coquettish and breathy but somewhat less dynamic delivery than the more well-known Maki Nomiya's. Sasaki reminded me more of another Shibuya-kei legend, Kahimi Karie（カヒミカリエ）. As for the video, it was like watching a mutant hybrid of a Tuesday night mystery drama and a goofy day out for clothes shopping with the band.
From such humble and weird beginnings, eh?
|Outside of Parco One in Shibuya|
|Tokyu Hands, the famed household goods shop and|
one of the Shibuya mainstays
|One of the many bustling restaurant buildings|