We all know that Yasutaka Nakata is a musical beast: From lounge to Shibuya-kei, from EDM to Avantgarde, this guy I had the pleasure to see live twice in my last trip in Japan is one of the most talented and open minded producers I’ve ever had the pleasure to discover in my endless journey at the discover of new music. During his career, started in 1997 with the foundation of capsule together with singer Toshiko Koshijima, Nakata explored many different musical genres and worked on many projects that make his portfolio definitely various and interesting to discover step by step. His most famous projects surely include his main group capsule, the amazing COLTEMONIKHA featuring Kate Sakai, and obviously the long list of collaborations that includes bands such as SMAP, Scandal, MEG, Ami Suzuki, and many more respectable acts of the Japanese music scene. Oh, and of course he’s Perfume and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s producer, but I guess there’s no need to say that, right?
But out of all of this rich list of projects, works and collaborations, there’s something that sadly got forgotten with time, something that appeared and disappeared ini a blink of an eye, ready to be caught only by those who carefully observe and listen: I’m talking about NAGISA COSMETIC.
NAGISA COSMETIC is a duo composed by Yasutaka Nakata and Nagisa Ichikawa, a unit structured exactly as capsule and COLTEMONIKHA, with Nakata producing the songs and Nagisa singing on them. Their story is simple: At the beginning of 2004, Nagisa, a designer, model and friend of Nakata, asked the guy to found a musical unit to produce songs influenced by the fashion and cosmetic world, with full approval by the producer.
On July 21st of 2004 the duo releases its first and last work, a mini album called NAGISA COSMETIC, featuring seven songs and lots of passion. Let me tell you guys, this little pearl is an absolute joy for your ears and soul: It’s happy, thoughtless, catchy, and wonderfully kawaii, yet not predictable or lazy. The influences on this album are many: From lounge vibes to jazzy basslines and shy electronic synths, Nakata handles everything in a masterful way by maintaining the right balance, perfected by the absolutely adorable voice of Nagisa. It’s apparently a simple album but there are a lot of things going on in the background, and the overall result is brilliant. This album will make a summer day brighter and your happy days even better, conquering you with its catchiness and prolonging the listen with quality production and variety of sounds perfectly balanced. I discovered this duo one year ago, and even though only seven songs have been produced, I can’t get tired of it at all: And believe me, this truly means a lot.
The duo performed only once at capsule’s Sound Furniture release party in 2004, and after a short time they decided to quit activities to focus on their own personal projects. This has probably been just a short adventure of two friends having fun making music and combining their own passions, probably without even getting themselves too seriously, and it’s definitely thanks to this attitude that this album is so genuinely full of happiness and love. NAGISA COSMETIC is a little pearl that will probably remain just a niche release for a certain audience, but maybe this is also what makes it so unique and special. Absolutely brilliant.