Japan Sound Portrait is a multimedia project building a variety of aural representations of the country, from a sound map phone application to virtual reality experiences, founded by BBC Radio 3 DJ and Musicity founder Nick Luscombe and KanZeOn film co-director/producer Neil Cantwell. Tonight’s event is Japan Sound Portrait’s first live event in the UK, representing music, field recordings and readings from the country.
Makoto Nomura – Kyoto based composer/improviser. He mainly plays the piano, melodica, rooftiles and gamelan. His composition includes Japanese traditional instruments, Javanese gamelan, western orchestra, rock band, children’s toy, body percussions, daily found objects, environmental sounds, and whatever. He has collaborated not only with professional musicians but also children, amateurs, animals, dancers, visual artists, counselor, etc. His work has been performed in more than 20 countries. He is currently the director of community programme of Japan Century Symphony Orchestra.
Kumiko Yabu – Percussionist / Composer.
Born in Osaka, currently living in Kyoto.
She studied sound engineering for theatre at Obirin University (BA in Performing Arts). In 2008, she studied collaborative composition for Gamelan (MA in Community Music) at the University of York, UK with a grant from Japan cultural affairs.
Also she studied Gamelan at Indonesian National University of Arts (ISI Yogyakarta) on scholarship programme by Indonesian government (DARMASISWA) for a year.
In 2014, She started a Creative Gamelan Group called “Sekar Gendis” based in Kyoto.
Works to date have included music for dance and film such as “Wall Flowers” (choreographed by Momoko Shiraga), “hospitalité” (filmed by Koji Fukada) which was the winner in the Japanese Eyes at Tokyo International Film Festival.
As a percussionist/ Improviser, she has played in various international festivals such as Ergodos Festival (Ireland), Buxton Festival (England), Kontraste Festival (Austria), Aichi Triennale 2010 (Japan) ,Yogyakarta Gamelan Festival 2011 (Indonesia),Segni New Generation Festival 2016 (Italy) etc.
Midori Komachi has performed as a soloist and chamber musician extensively throughout Europe and Japan. Midori studied in Basel, Switzerland at the age of 12 where she was accepted exceptionally as a “Young Talented Student” at the Basel Music Conservatoire. Subsequently she made her debut as a soloist with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Howard Griffiths. Since then she has appeared in some of the world’s prestigious venues, including Tonhalle Zurich, Tokyo Opera City Hall, Muza Kawasaki(Japan), Philharmony Warsaw, Wigmore Hall, St.George’s Bristol, Rector’s Palace (Croatia). She has also given recitals at festivals in the UK, France, Holland and Hungary.
Midori will be presenting pieces for solo violin by contemporary Japanese composers, exploring the world of Japanese traditional sounds expressed by a Western instrument: challenging perceptions, pushing boundaries and discovering new possibilities. Midori will also be introducing folksongs from Japan, along with her arrangement for solo violin.
abirdwhale is a solo project of Masato Kakinoki, London-based Japanese musician, audiovisual artist, film music composer, PhD in Music candidate at Canterbury Christ Church University.
He wrote and produced soundtracks and an inserted song for the feature film ‘Fragile’ (directed by Shingo Ota). The film was screened internationally, including The Tokyo International Film Festival. He won the Best Remix award in PROGRESSIVE FOrM Tetsuya Hikita+NIL ‘Water Wheel’ Remix Contest.
His work varies from singer-songwriter style to audiovisual digital performance art, where he explores the fragile balance among experimental, visceral, emotion, chaos, noise, order and tradition.
Performing his own digital music pieces, he has sought for another approach which is neither traditional DJ performance nor the reproduction with a live band. With his audiovisual performance, he experiments with certain factors which tend to be lessened in digital music performance, such as physical presence and fluidity.
Verity Lane (music maker and project leader) – Born in Tottenham and spending the last 10 years in Japan, music-maker, sound artist and producer Verity Lane specialises in creating highly visual soundscapes for traditional Japanese instruments. Her music is rich in Japanese aesthetics, exploring the concepts of mujo (impermanence), yugen (inherent beauty meets the austere- similar to the sublime) and ma (space – similar to the concept of Western rubato).
Mentored by the late Indian composer John Mayer, she went on to complete a BA Hons in Japanese and music at School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and won an award by JASSO to study at Osaka University, Japan. She then went on to complete an MA in composition at Osaka College of Music. Recently, two pieces from her ‘3 Summer Pieces’ for bass koto (Japanese harp) were premiered on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Late Junction’.
Lane is also a producer and event organiser, with her new experimental community music series ‘Tottenham Soundscapes’ gaining much attention.