Hi-Posi - Sashin ni Chu [1991]

Hi-Posi are by no means obscure, yet their early new wave/art pop career seems to go largely unnoticed. Before reforming into a Shibuya-kei duo consisting of Miho Moribayashi and Kenji Kondo, Hi-Posi were a part of K-Hin Brothers, co. and contributed the song [Jino Jino] to the album [Chikai Munashiku] and [Eva Eva Peh] to [Hare Hare Night]. They released a cassette tape in 1989, two years before their major debut, which you and I will likely never hear in our lives; this is speculation: I am aware that Kimitaka Matsumae was a member of Hi-Posi pre-[Sashin ni Chu] (although not sure of the exact years), so it is quite possible he was a full-time member during the release of the aforementioned cassette tape. However, the K-Hin influence didn't evaporate once Hi-Posi went major. The recording timeframe listed in this album's booklet is 1989-1991; consequently, Kimitaka Matsumae is credited under "special thanks", and the seventh track, 10F, was arranged by Midori Okamura (credited as Mint-Lee)*.
At the time of this album's release, Hi-Posi consisted of four full-fleged members: Miho Moribayashi (who wrote all lyrics and music and arranged most tracks), Naomi Araki, Kenji Kondo and Suguru Yamaguchi. It's hard to identify each member's specific role as they were all very accomplished musicians and could each play a large variety of instruments. At the very least, Naomi Araki is consistently Hi-Posi's bass player, and Kenji Kondo is the only guitarist. There are some interesting choices in instruments, including Naomi's role on 'kitchen perc' and Midori Okamura on 'machine' --and I must say the track she arranged is distinctly done in her own style, when I first heard the song I instantly recognised her involvement without even needing to look at the credits.
While Hi-Posi, at this point in their career, created some uniquely cute music, the packaging for this album is superb and bumps my cuteness rating up a few more points. The packaging has a reception/nursery school aesthetic; crude drawings plaster the booklet and dotted scissor lines accompany each fold. It is also paired with a cardboard frame which surrounds the jewel-case and has a stand that can be pulled out**.

*I realise that some readers may not know who Midori Okamura and Kimitaka Matsumae are or might even be clueless as to what K-Hin Bros, co. is. It's a very broad subject and one that is best suited for its own page. When will I add one? No idea.