Monday, April 22, 2013


Taku Sugimoto, Yasuo Totsuka & Mattin
Training Thoughts
w.m.o/r 09

A performance by Mattin, Sugimoto (guitar), and Totsuka (electronics) was recorded at the record shop Enban, near Koenji Station, Tokyo, during Mattin's Japan tour. The first several minutes were filled with noises from trains and the audience. Then were high-frequency noises with complex overtone structures, namely the rotation noise of the laptop fan; and an electronic sound like the noises made by crawling insects. The electronic sound, which went outside the audible range, mondulated the fan noises. This kind of performance of performance is specific to Totsuka, who used to modulate environmental sounds in live performances. These effects were combined with electronic sounds within the audible range, which corresponds to a high-frequency variant of the continuous transformation between low-frequency oscillating tones and pulses presented by Stockhausen in "Kontakte." Whne The fan noises were about to fade away, the sounded quite lyrical. Then train noises came back in, and Sugimoto subtly responded with single dry notes. In summary this recording opened a new chapter in quiet improvisation by introducing environmental sounds as essential elements. Improvised Music from Japan

Guitar player
Born in Tokyo, December 20, 1965.
Taku Sugimoto started playing guitar when he was a high school student. At first he played rock and blues, and then he also became interested in free jazz, European free improvised music, and avant-garde classical music.
In 1985, Sugimoto co-founded the improvisational psychedelic rock band Piero Manzoni, whose main influences were the Velvet Underground and MC5. The group, including Masaki Bato on bass and Sugimoto on guitar, disbanded in '88. For the next few years, Sugimoto was involved in solo performance and session work. It was during this period that he released his first solo LP, Mienai Tenshi ('88), which had a big, heavy sound.
In '91, Sugimoto started playing cello, and for the next two years abandoned the guitar in order to focus completely on this instrument. He formed Henkyo Gakudan (which was active in '91-'92) with alto sax player Hiroshi Itsui and guitarist Michio Kurihara. The group's music sounded like somewhat high-volume improvised chamber music. Sugimoto was also briefly a member, in '93, of the psychedelic rock band Ghost, and in '94, of Tetuzi Akiyama's avant-garde classical music band Hikyo String Quintet. After releasing his cello solo CD Slub in '94, Sugimoto gave up the cello.
Sugimoto and Tetuzi Akiyama launched their guitar duo Akiyama-Sugimoto in '94. From that time, Sugimoto gradually shifted from a loud, heavy sound to the extremely quiet sound, full of silences, which he established through solo and other projects as his own unique style. In 1998, together with Akiyama and Toshimaru Nakamura, he launched the inspiring monthly concert series The Improvisation Meeting at Bar Aoyama (renamed The Experimental Meeting at Bar Aoyama in '99, and Meeting at Off Site in 2000), which he continued to organize until his retirement from the series in February 2001.
Currently Sugimoto's interest focuses on composition and its performance, rather than improvisation. With Taku Unami and Masahiko Okura, Sugimoto organizes the almost-monthly Chamber Music Concert at Loop-Line and the irregular Taku Sugimoto Composition Series at Kid Ailack Art Hall, both in Tokyo. He runs the label Slub Music, which in addition to Sugimoto's own recordings releases CDs by Taku Unami, Kazushige Kinoshita, Radu Malfatti, Antoine Beuger, and others.


solo / leader
with Piero Manzoni
with Henkyo Gakudan
  • Henkyo Gakudan. Recorded live. Audiocassette. 1992.
  • Henkyo Gakudan. Audiocassette. 1991.
with other artists