"On this, the fifth volume of An’archives’ Enka Mood Collection split 10” series, two trios explore the possibilities of enka in typically expansive fashion. Side one features four songs performed by the trio of Mineko Itakura, Shin’ichi Isohata and Michel Henritzi. They’re all musicians with impressive histories: Itakura was a member of downer psych group Angel’in Heavy Syrup and Slapp Happy Humphrey; Isohata has worked with Otomo Yoshihide, and composed a soundtrack for Tadasuke Kotani’s film, The Legacy Of Frida Kahlo.
Michel Henritzi is also a known quantity: over the years, he’s been a tireless supporter of Japanese underground music, a writer, critic and record label owner who’s also recorded with Junko, Tetuzi Akiyama, Rinji Fukuoka, Masayuki Urabe, and Á Qui Avec Gabriel, among others. The trio takes on four enka songs, extracting the bittersweet tang from each melody, comfortable in the space that enka inhabits, a world of longing and nostalgia that sits somewhere between tradition, folk and blues.
Flip the 10” over, and Yuka Ijichi, Doronco and Mitsuru Tabata stretch out across three songs. They’ve plenty of prior form for this – Tabata’s history includes time with Acid Mothers Temple, Boredoms, Zeni Geva, Green Flames, and 20 Guilders; Doronco goes further back, a one-time member of Les Rallizes Denudes. Ijichi is a relatively new presence, but she’s released two gorgeous cassettes of acid folk on Selection Records. There’s an immediately sympathy to their playing, and a preternatural ability to grasp the core of the material; it’s beautifully performed." - An Archives.