En 期 is seeking for new aesthetics in contemporary music. Piece is linking ancient Japanese instruments like biwa, gongs and traditional chanting with gritty granular and FM synthesis coming from newly developed electronic devices. Piece is a result of series of recording sessions of rituals and buddhist chants performed by monks from Kyoto. Recordings are of characteristic styles related to sects such as Jyodoshuu, Tendaishuu, Shingonshuu, and traditional Ryukuan music from Okinawa. Material includes recordings of traditional storytelling with biwa master such as Shoukou Okada. Piece is acknowledging the ancient instruments and art form, embracing the limitations, idiosyncrasies and rawness of sound sources, as Japanese cultural concept, the unique, one in a lifetime encounter (Ichi-go ichi-e). It is linking new technology with ancient instruments through granular and fragmented pieces of space and time in the micro sampled form of audio.
Project is looking at preserving and reflecting upon the culture through developing collaborative techniques, and new technology, as timbral toolkit for musicians across cultures. Both electronic and acoustic instruments used are form of conversation and knowledge exchange rather than imitating one another. Aim of the piece is to be aesthetically engaging, evolving, combining composition, storytelling and performance techniques through the use of synthesis, real time sample manipulation and improvisation.
The result of this approach re-contextualises ancient Japanese music with electronics and puts it in the new? post cyberpunk? aesthetic. The relationship of the material used is generative and as unique encounter each time different. It is played by the electronic instruments themselves (via algorithmic processes) and/or guided by controlled improvisation or as set by composer rulesets reflecting link to the culture or traditional instrument. As a result piece presents unique relationship between human, technology and culture.
Initial idea of the piece was premiered and presented on Tokyo Festival of Modular 2018, Japan and as immersive performance on 8.1 sound system in Elbphilharmonie/Resonanzraum Hamburg, 2018.
Recording sessions were possible thanks to support from Cwejman Japan, Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Poland and College of Creative Arts, Wellington, New Zealand.