I would like to give credit where credit is due. Videos are from YouTube and other sources such as NicoNico while Oricon rankings and other information are translated from the Japanese Wikipedia unless noted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Denki Groove/POLYSICS/Rie Eto -- N.O.

Getting to know about those zany cool guys that make up techno unit Denki Groove(電気グルーヴ)from the late 1990s, when I heard that the boys were going to release a bunch of their best hits, I knew that I had to grab the album. Well, it turned out that "The Last Supper" from July 2001 was not quite a BEST album but more of a compilation of Denki Groove's different takes on some of their past tunes. No matter. I was quite happy to get it. Of course, being the goofy contrarians, Takkyu Ishino(石野 卓球)and company just had to release their album in a long silvery case which would just protrude out of my shelf.

One of the songs I enjoyed from the self-tribute album was this cute entry called "N.O. (Nord Ost)" which had multilingual singer Rie Eto (衛藤利恵)singing it in German. Not knowing anything about its past, I still thought the song had that not-so-serious whimsy typical of a Denki Groove entry although the techno was definitely toned down. As for Eto, I actually knew her more for her voiceover work, specifically on an old midnight entertainment show on TV Tokyo that I used to catch over the weekends, "Showbiz Countdown". Unfortunately, probably due to copyright reasons, the video below just has the opening sequence and Eto just saying the title.

Also on "The Last Supper" was another take on "N.O." by the techno-rock/new wave band POLYSICS. The folks there apparently like to describe their music as "technicolor pogo punk". Hey, whatever works. In any case, POLYSICS has been a band that I've seen now and then here and there on the video channels, and I figured that this group was the Japanese cousin to the new wave band Devo. There are the deadpan faces, the nuclear reactor jumpsuits and the thrashy guitars. Rie Eto is once again the voice here but she has got a lot more musical excitement surrounding her this time.

Some time after getting "The Last Supper", I finally got to hear the original version of "N.O.", and perhaps not surprisingly, this is the take I've enjoyed the most. Originally made by Ishino for the 1990 debut album, "662 BPM BY DG" during Denki Groove's indie days, it was re-made for the band's 4th album under Ki/oon Records, "Vitamin" in 1993. It was later released as their 3rd single in February 1994. What I liked about it was just the percolating synths that reminded me of the old days of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Supposedly, Ishino's choice in title was from the initials of British band New Order, a group that he greatly admired, but somewhere down the line the title came to stand for "Nord Ost" by the time of "The Last Supper". The song peaked at No. 21 on Oricon.

The last video here is to show Ms. Eto through a commercial she did back in the 90s.

P.S. I also covered a song in an article from a couple of years back which was also on "The Last Supper".

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