Otomo Yoshihide's Ensembles continues at Vacant

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Otomo Yoshihide's ongoing work Ensembles, a large-scale musical exhibition held last year at the YCAM InterLab in Eastern Japan, comes to Tokyo for a short string of performances. The credo of discovering and utilizing new, or 'found,' sounds in composition remains at the core as Yoshihide continues working to "create a variety of musical devices in all sorts of places."

I'll continue on by extracting a lengthy quote from the Ensembles Manifesto:

The life-changing fascination with music that came over me in my teens was rooted in the discovery that new and unfamiliar sounds could cause a reaction among a large number of people gathered in one place. All of the music I loved--free jazz, free improvisation, noise, alternative--had this kind of effect. The fascination was not only with the music itself, but also with the feeling of total unity that came from the aura and power of the space and the gravitational pull existing among the people who were there. I wanted to get away from the kind of music that leaves no distance between sound source and eardrums; I wanted to bring back space and noise. I wondered what would happen if I tried to make music not just for individual listening, but music that emerged as it passed through the ears, hands and bodies of many people. This is how ENSEMBLES got started.

Its entitled ENSEMBLES, in the plural form, for the reason that Yoshihide envisioned an aggregate of works that were intertwined both in implication and development- something multilayered. With intentions less aligned as a single event but rather more in the direction of being plural and integral; which for Yoshihide means sometimes happening simultaneously or sometimes unfolding at a more comfortable pace yet leaving room for inconsistency and contradiction.

Referring back to the Ensembles Manifesto, Yoshihide continues:

For now, the idea is that between July and October, in a variety of venues, we'll present a wide range of new and previously existing works, performances, etc.--from very small to medium-sized events and from nearly individual creations to works involving many people-- that unfold semi-improvisationally at times, guerrilla-style at others. The plan itself is not fixed; my intention is to develop something that will adapt flexibly to each situation, something that could not be realized in an established art museum or concert hall. What's more, based on the results this time, I'm hoping to continue ENSEMBLES next year, the year after that, and into the future. It will be a challenge, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

For now, here are details of the coming Tokyo performance:

Otomo Yoshihide + Yasutomo Aoyama + Takayuki Ito/YCAM InterLab + Masayoshi Takada +α

Date: 7.4(Sat)-8.9(Sun) 13:00-20:00
Place: Vacant (3-20-13 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo/ 03-6459-2962)
Admission: ¥500 / ¥1,000 (with DVD!)
Organized by: N0 IDEA, ENSEMBLES Committee
Supported by: Fostex Company, Shiseido Co., Ltd.
Cooperated by: Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media[YCAM]
Technical Supported by: YCAM InterLab

There are also a few events scheduled around so here is a rundown of more happenings:

Sunday July 5th brings the opening event with live sets by:
DJ トランキライザ (Tranquilizer), Aoyama Yasutomo+Otomo Yoshihide, Mori Yuko, Sachiko M and two others whose names I couldn't make out.

Sunday August 2nd features a talk event held with Otomo Yoshihide and Guest(s).

Sunday August 9th there is a closing event with a performance by Otomo Yoshihide and α which opens at 18:30 and starts at 19:00.

Posted by Vicente Gutierrez at 8:28 PM 0 comments  

A visit to Hideo Ikeezumi's PSF Records

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Last Wednesday brought a visit to PSF Records where Hideo Ikeezumi has been running his PSF shop and label HQ for about 30 years. Set in an inconspicuous apartment in central-west Tokyo, the shop is packed full of releases from the Japanese psychedelic and avant-garde underground; some in limited quantities and unfortunately out of print for good. Amidst the digging and 360-head scans of the room, we were even lucky enough to find an originally packaged, Incapacitants cassette tape from their earlier days among other treasures. So as a somewhat historical vault full of stories, renowned passersby and seeing Ikeezumi as one of the essential historical figures in this story, we were more than happy to land the chance to have an interview.

While at PSF, we had a great conversation which extended from historical themes, personal anecdotes, future plans even to simple thumbs-up-thumbs-down or to-stock-or-not-to-stock ratings as we chatted through the years and perused the shelves of releases (top shelf being reserved for his favorites). I also picked up a back issue of G-Modern, the psychedelic, avant-garde, underground magazine which Ikeezumi edits, which features an over ten page interview with Keiji Haino. To add, I also came away with a live recording of Takayanagi Masayuki, New Direction / Call In Question which Ikeezumi straight pushed on me and told me I needed to hear.

Photos: Cameron Mckean, more on our flickr.