Restored 18 June 2017, originally published 20 February 2016
It feels odd that I’m about to recommend pestilence, war, famine, and death as entertainment, but that is part of the enigma that is N. Fushigi.
The magnifique French netlabel Eg0cide Productions brings us the latest from N. Fushigi entitled Invisible (The label also shared his debut Terrorism last year.) Invisible is a full length album built around what Fushigi titles “Myths”; essentially, these are three instrumental song cycles. Overall on this album you’ll hear tracks made up of several reoccurring elements including buzzing (and sometimes very heavy) guitar, varied percussion, ringing bell and other electronic noises, all often underpinned by unsettling (if indecipherable) background noise.
An excellent example of the overall sound of this collection is opening track “Darkness, Unseen” linked below. For the first minute it could be a natural sound experiment with blowing breezes and a ringing bell in the town square, but then the bass and drums kick in, the guitars buzz, the bells become more melodic, and we’re off on a heavy guitar rock adventure.
The Myths (which are longer tracks, each clocking in around the 12-14 minute range) are interspersed with six shorter pieces. “Myth No.1 – Ride of the Four Horsemen” references, of course, the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Within it, there are four distinct songs that make up the whole. Similarly, “Myth No. 2 – Ode to the Seven Olympian Spirits” references Renaissance-era magic spirits with seven movements, while “Myth No.3 – Psalms of the Great Old Ones” follows the familiar pattern and is one for H.P. Lovecraft fans.
My favorite of the Myths is “No.1 – Ride of the Four Horsemen”; it starts off like a desolate landscape with some synth washes and muted percussion, eventually supplemented by occasional piano chords and a picked guitar that could be from the soundtrack to an old western. In the second portion, the drones recede and we are treated to a funky rhythm and clanging bells to carry the tune. The third “movement” has a twitchy percussion line, a slow tolling of bells, and washes of sound. The final minutes feature loud washes of “wind” carrying the faint ghostly sound of the unsettled spirits of the dead.
So who is this N. Fushigi? Well, the word “fushigi” is Japanese for “mystery,” and his website says the “N“ is short for “Nazo”, which is also a Japanese word and means “mystery.” So he’s a mystery wrapped in a mystery…a mystery to the second power. What I do know is that N. Fushigi is a one-man band and has done all the composing and playing here. Based on my super internet sleuthing I’ve also discovered he’s from Andorra and, well, that’s about all I know. Despite all the intrigue this information (or lack thereof) may conjure, we should probably heed the advice that N. himself provides (and may eventually trademark): “Just… don’t take this guy too seriously… ok?” The guy, maybe, but do take “Invisible” seriously; it’s a really strong effort.
N. Fushigi -“Darkness, Unseen”