III album cover
III

Naoki Zushi

2005
Org Records

On III, guitarist Naoki Zushi is joined by Shinji Shibayama and Masako Takeda of Nagisa Ni Te, the group Zushi moonlights with. But the songs here are by Zushi, not Shibayama, so it’s not Nagisa under another name. And while Zushi’s history in the Japanese underground might suggest experimentation – he was an early member of noise troupe Hijokaidan – III has a distinctly late-night, quiet side of the sixties feel to it: meandering two-chord folk songs, crystalline guitar figures woven into Tim Buckley-esque mantras, Zushi’s soft, ghostly voice barely hovering over the songs, caressing the melodies briefly. It’s no surprise that III has been lauded by some as a psych-folk classic, though even that’s a reductive reading of a deeply intimate set of songs.

Jon Dale

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