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Yoshida, Ami / Toshimaru Nakamura: Soba to Bara (erstwhile)

Two of the original innovators of the Tokyo "onkyo" sound movement, understated ea-improvisations, in their first collaboration, constructed asynchronous recordings.

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product information:

Label: erstwhile
Catalog ID: erstwhile 056
Squidco Product Code: 8927

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2009
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded separately by Toshimaru Nakamura and Ami Yoshida in June 2008. Mixed and mastered by Toshimaru Nakamura.


Ami Yoshida-voice

Toshimaru Nakamura-no input mixing board

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Artist Biographies:

"Toshimaru Nakamura is a Japanese musician, active in free improvisation and Japanese onkyo.

He began his career playing rock and roll guitar, but gradually explored other types of music, even abandoning guitar, and started working on circuit bending. He uses a mixing console as a live, interactive musical instrument: "Nakamura plays the 'no-input mixing board', connecting the input of the board to the output, then manipulating the resultant audio feedback."

Nakamura's music has been described as "sounds ranging from piercing high tones and shimmering whistles to galumphing, crackle-spattered bass patterns."

Nakamura founded the ensemble A Paragon of Beauty in 1992. He has recorded solo albums, worked as a session musician, and collaborated with artists including Sachiko M ("a kindred spirit"), Otomo Yoshihide, Keith Rowe, John Butcher, Nicholas Bussmann, Taku Sugimoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, dancer Kim Ito, and drummer Jason Kahn."

-Wikipedia (

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track listing:

1. Soba To Bara 47:59
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Free improvisation has rarely seen significant new movements as influential as the small group of Tokyo musicians once labeled as "onkyo", who have now been a primary driving force in contemporary improvisation for a full decade. Over that decade, these musicians have been responsible for some of the strongest and most radical work on Erstwhile, and Soba To Bara sits firmly in that lineage.

Ami Yoshida strives to create a pure sound, abstracting her voice until it becomes almost completely unrecognizable. She created her unique style with no conventional training, initially inspired by Meredith Monk. Cosmos (with Sachiko M) and Astro Twin (with Utah Kawasaki) are her two longest-running projects, and their split release won the 2003 Ars Electronica award. Outside of Japan, Yoshida is solely known for her vocal work, but within Japan, she is a highly regarded writer, poet and comic book critic, with one novel and countless magazine articles to her credit. This is her third release for Erstwhile, following Cosmos-Tears and a s o (with Christof Kurzmann).

Toshimaru Nakamura is one of the most distinguished and original voices in the world of electroacoustic improvisation, with a vast body of work built up over the past decade. Since 1998, Nakamura has been exploring the possibilities of his no-input mixing board in contexts ranging from solo to collaborations with Keith Rowe, Sachiko M, Sean Meehan, Klaus Filip, Axel Dörner and Annette Krebs. Nakamura was a prominent presence throughout the AMPLIFY 2002 box set, appearing on five of the seven CDs, and has previously released ten other projects on Erstwhile including Good Morning Good Night, ErstLive 005 and 4g-cloud, as well as 2008's well-received One Day, with the duo English. Currently in preparation is an ErstLive release of his duo with Keith Rowe at the AMPLIFY 2008: light festival in Tokyo, as well as an ErstSolo release.

Despite knowing each other for over a decade, Yoshida and Nakamura had never performed as a duo when they were asked to make a CD and perform a set in the AMPLIFY 2008 festival. They discussed how best to approach this, and their idea was to record solo tracks separately, overdub them 'blindly' without hearing the other, and then spend time listening to the results before performing the concert. However, they were so satisfied with how powerful and seemingly synchronized the overlapped solos were that they decided that they wanted that to be the release. The traditional Japanese feel of the digipak was created by the very talented Tokyo designer Yasuo Totsuka, built around the kanji characters for 'Soba to Bara'. and the package also contains Japanese-only liner notes by Yoshida and Nakamura."-Erstwhile Records

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Electro-Acoustic Improv
lowercase, micro-improv, sound improv
Free Improvisation
Duo Recordings
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