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Pizzicato Five
(call it quits)

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With Judy and Mary also announcing their breakup, you could almost call it the end of an era. But as plenty of other Shibuya-kei acts are still on the scene, the frothy, kitschy, pop sound continues to be heard. Nonetheless, the end of Pizzicato Five - who effectively launched Shibuya-kei with their formation in 1985 - somehow seems to mark the decline of the sound, born of Japan's Bubble years.

From their early days, when the duo of Yasuharu Konishi and K-Taro Takanami were a couple of college kids running around in the same circle as Ryuichi Sakamoto of YMO, Pizzicato Five were signaling something new. Not only did they throw every imaginable musical style from disco to French chanson indiscriminately into their postmodern blender, they also drew on all manner of pop culture, from television and film to fashion.

Debuting with the single "Audrey Hepburn Complex" in 1985, the band - in recent years a duo of Konishi and singer Maki Nomiya - went on to platinum sales in Japan. And, after signing with US indie label Matador and releasing Made in the USA, the two had significant success in art/college circles in that country as well.

Sixteen years and umpteen albums later, Pizzicato Five went out in style with an all-night extravaganza at On Air East on Mar 31. Why did P5 finally decide to call it quits? "We figured if we continued, we'd become like the Ventures - a band that never quits," Konishi explained in a recent edition of Pia magazine, noting that they had a pretty good run for a pop band. "We're like a well-made toy. We've lasted 17 years - that's more than most cars."

Pizzicato Five's R.I.P. Big Hits and Jet Lags 1998-2001 is available on *********records.


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