Koenjihyakkei (translated as ““Hundred Sights of Koenji”) is a mysterious Japanese band that is led Tatsuia Yoshida by former members of Ruins (as well as member of Bondage Fruit). It is unlikely that there’s any meaning to their lyrics (as is the case with their brethren Boredoms) and their history is unclear, with some suggesting that Yoshida is delibarely keeping their biographical information to a minimum in order to sustain a mystique built around the band.
From what is known, Yoshida is the only constant member of the band and throughout their career, other member also included ex-Ruins member Ryuichi Masuda and Kubota Aki from Bondage Fruit. The band started out in the early to mid 90s and by 1994 released their debut album.
“Hundred Sights Of Koenji” was described by Ground And Sky website as being heavily influence by Magma, French prog-rock band, and one of the more accessible bands albums, with “‘Real’ vocals (with minimal screaming), flashy keyboard lines, intricate guitar and bass lines that serve nothing so much as actual melody.”
Each of their follow-up albums took 3 to 4 years to produce – “Viva Koenji” appeared in 1998 (on God Mountain label), “Nivraym” came out in 2001 (on Magaibutsu label) and 2005 “Angherr Shisspa” came out on Skin Graft. They also produced three DVDs – 2002 “Live At The Star Pine Cafe”, 2006 “Live At Doors” and 2008 “070531″.
Pitchfork gave “Angherr Shisspa” 8 points out of 10 and described the band’s sound as “a compact mix of operatic vocals, repetitive unison riffs, lots of drums and piano, and the occasional sax solo.” They concluded that there’s “No irony here: this rocks with the teeth and heart to cut through scenes and the “overground” like a knife.” Ground And Sky described the album as “better-paced and more accessible” album than its predecessors, even though the band still manage to keep “intensity level needle in the red”.
Hundred Sights Of Koenji CD (God Mountain, 1994)
Viva Koenji / Ni CD (God Mountain, 1998 / Skin Graft, 2006)
Nivraym CD (Magaibutsu, 2001)
Angherr Shisspa CD (Skin Graft, 2002)
MP3: Grembo Zavia