Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Nambu (3)


<An Birthday Eve of the Fifth Column 3>

 Speaking about Pinakotheka Records, Kichijoji ”Minor”, maybe there are young persons who are very interested in. Well, in fact, recently, something or other I was interviewed several times about activities from late 70’s to 80’s. So, naturally I must talk about “Minor” where was originally jazz café, Pinakotheka Records which was the label an owner of Minor Mr. Takahumi Sato established, releases of vinyl in regard to it, the fifth column, “Anode / Cathode” the virtual band, and so on.
Especially this year, I appeared on Dommune, the streaming broadcast, because “Namakojyosikousei” LP collaborated by Deku Studio, the fifth column and Pinakotheka was re-released as CD from Disk Union, and the box set of the fifth column, which includes the recorded performances from 70’s to this century, was released. So, to tell the truth, please buy those if you want to know the detail. In regard to magazines, Geso Fujimoto answered at the interview in “IDEA”(vol.357) which was an old famous magazine in designer's genre. Although this New Nambu is also one of them, I’d like to change the subject a little, and mention about the subject of my interest. That is to say, my latest performance and intentionality of my early adolescent are gradually closing, do people call this “Nidowarabe” ( the second childhood ) ? I’m anxious about it. Then, it is a violin for its subject.
Because I liked drawing, I was able to killing time everlastingly if I had a pencil and a paper since kindergarten age. I was fond of drawing elaboration thoroughly. Well, I guess it was usual flow, I was surprised at Dali, Magritte, Chirico, and was shocked at their real touch and a mysterious picture composition. Then, I aimed at drawing such works soon. However, in fact, I have been really not good at treating the color, and have been good at line drawing and monochrome ( this have been influenced on my tendency which I don’t like an orchestra but solo. Harmony is color sense. ). I knew Surrealism and Cubism’s way of thinking “Looking one object from various aspects and construct them on one plane simultaneously” at the same time. One day, I discovered an old violin in the instrument storage of my junior high school. That had already no strings and no bridge, laying down without a bow too in a case. It was written to the back side as purchase in Showa 30 year (1954). I asked to a musical teacher if I used it as an object of a picture, I could borrow it soon. I drew a jar and a violin in parallel with Cubism method by my self-taught. I was satisfied with completion. But, I graduated from the school as I didn’t return that violin. 

Although I also belonged to an art club at high school, I didn’t draw pictures in a clubroom, I always played a table tennis. Then, my main interest shifted to the music. My favorite was jazz, rock, contemporary music and so on, but I had not only instrumentals but also skills. What I had was that violin without strings. I took strings of my father’s mandolin, and set them on my violin. Rounded musical shops for searching a cheap bow, I found a very short bow for a lower grades of an elementary school, so I purchased it by three thousands yen. Incidentally, because there were only three pegs for rolling up strings, I wound two strings around one peg. I made the bridge with plastic board, important to make soundings.

The performance I tackled at first was self-taught “Ethnic Music”. I often listened to the radio since I was junior high school pupil, I regularly listened to the contemporary music hour of Minao Shibata, and the ethnic music hour of Fumio Koizumi. One day, I developed the method to add vibrato with flagioletto. What does it mean? Flagioletto is technique for making harmonic overtone which not holding tightly but touching lightly strings by left finger. It may be impossible, because it was able to play vibrato only with holding tightly. In fact, I couldn’t play usual vibrato I played violin like a cello, as sitting cross-legged and standing a violin around my left knee as violinists of South India. Then, by shaking my foot pressing close to the root of strings by the right heel, and it made me succeed in adding vibrato all strings at the same time. Also, I can play vibrato even if this flagieoletto.
I had an image around Indio of South America, Mountain tribes of Southeast Asia and bow-drawn one-string instrument of Africa. Although I am able to play that now, but it has been difficult because I put so many fat on my belly. I made my friends to listen to this sounds. My friends also listened to various music, so we come to think what we do by using this sounds. Models at that time were surprisingly King Crimson and Third Ear Band! Curious persons gathered and started to practice covertly in a record room of high school where was not used usually. Although we intended to copy “Sailor’s Tale” of King Crimson, but finally we added a friend who played the viola, then I beat the bongo and the saw instead of a drum set. In case of Third Ear Band, we remained to play the sound like that adding a recorder and a cheap double reed instrument. Although it was monotony and simple by one listening, it’s difficult to play such songs and performance in fact. We gave up to play it in the middle, then we became a usual high school band for an annual festival to copy Cream and Deep Purple etc. unskillfully. After about three years from that, I attached pickup-microphone to that violin and distorted it by Distortion effector. Then, I succeeded in making a sharp and harsh sound. I’m 22 years old, then.

 I went to Tokyo and arrived at Ueno Station with it and Tenor Sax (also a borrowed one) by night train taking for 8 hours (Tohoku super express wasn’t there at that time). It was Dec. 25, 1979 (I wonder). Geso Fujimoto already had graduated from university in Kyoto and moved to Tokyo, then, and he deepened friendship with personal connections around Minor at Kichijoji. I’ve already visited to Minor. And I’d got acquaintance with its owner, Mr. Takahumi Sato. Perhaps, I will write again about this time in regard to Mr. Satoshi Sonoda and Free Music Space organized by him, Mr. Kenichi Takeda and Vibration Society, East Bionic Sinfonia, GAP, Eran Mare, Gaseneta, Totsuzen Danball, Kodomo Band, Hikashu, Kachihusui, Garapagos, Event Accident 7711 and so on. Also “Art Vivant”, a contemporary music/art speciality shop in12th Floor of Ikebukuro Seibu Department and Mr. Saotshi Ashikawa.

Soon after opening, Minor as a coffee shop where we could listen to some improvised music or free jazz gathered such fans. And there is a grand piano there because Mr. Sato himself had played the piano. Finally, first show was had. That was the trio Takashi Kako, Oliver Johnson, and Kent Carter. From this, Minor was supposed to be established as a jazz café where also organized free jazz show. However after this, other than persons involved in not only free jazz, but also improvised music & contemporary music performer come to gather, and somehow radical rockmusicians who were like ousted from the punk scene, people involved in Butoh, strange performance groups etc. come to gather. I will write around here again.

Therefore, our The Fifth Column ”group like be or not be” decided to organize a project called
 “いむぷろゔぁいずど大晦日いゔ (Improvised the last day of the year Eve)” at Minor (30th December, 1979). This was that we gathered about 20 improvisation players of our acquaintances and their acquaintances, and we were playing improvisation continuously changing a combination. The background of this project was fully influenced by “company” which was a method established by Derek Baily. This impacted on not only just us but also players who listened to such music in those days more or less. At Minor, such an event called “factory” (Although a name is like Warhol’s) was randomly organized, I remember the group called “Tree” by Mr. Kono and Mr. Kondo. Everyone has said “ That was not a band or an organization. So, we could open up potential by free improvisation. Such free jazz was dead.” Therefore, there were persons who resisted it naturally. I think New Jazz Syndicate, a party of Takayanagi, Seikatsu Kojo Iinkai were like that.

However, at that time, sessions someone freely joined were spreaded here and there in Tokyo. One of the famous venues was “Goodman” in Nishiogikubo. An owner, Mr. Kamata was active as a sax player. And, that was Minor in Kichijoji. Although other than those there was a shop "Jora" in Waseda(a town of Tokyo) where members of  only women band Mizutamashouboudan run, in the back of a shop there was a large room where improvisation group Vedda Music Workshop gathered. Ms.Chie Mukai, Mr.Takashi Kazamaki, Mr.Takeo Suzuki also joined this group. Akira Aida invited Derek Bailey in 1978, I went to Shibuya expressly to see his show. Anyway, my brain was fulfilled by improvisation. I hadn’t a doubt in the world that improvisation was on the cutting edge of music. So, we would try to do that. Perhaps, I will mention about “Company” some other time. Anyway, with a sax and a violin, I went to Tokyo to participate in a project of The Fifth Column and sessions at night after night. In the first day of coming to Tokyo, I went toward Minor soon. There were members of Gaseneta. Takahumi Sato, Jun Hamano, and Toshiharu Osato (only three persons). That was the first time I met Mr. Osato. They listened to somehow furious sound. That was “Airway” members of LAFMS made. LAFMS? Maybe there are persons who don’t know them. I will introduce them soon or later.

I come to sleep at a toilet as soon as I was listening it with drinking. But, I only accepted to participate in Mr. Sato’s band ”Jigyakusiza no Tawamure” next night of that day. Members of Jigyakusiza were Mr. Sato (Piano with ring modulator ), Mr. Yoshio Kuge (Drum), Mr.Akihiro Isiwatari (Guitar), Mr. Kouji Imuta (voice.High school pupil at that time.Later an actor.). And I would play the sax and the violin. Although I was anxious that rehearsal just before a show was finished so easily, everyone tended to feel “We did’t care if anything might happen”, therefore I decided to think so. My violin was noisy from the first song. However, when I listen to that record (I keep it properly) now, I think it is good it match to Mr. Imuta’s voice. Performers of that night was Mr. Keiji Haino's Fushitsusha and Mr. Jyutoku Kaneko's Kousokuya other than Jigyakusiza no Tawamure. I will write again because it will be long if I write about around here.

 Then, in 2012, thirty three years after from that. I took that violin out again. That is for playing in a group of Morioka “Dosimasu Sinfonia” which plays like constructed piecesat this time. This ensemble played at a local temple, a music venue, a closed jazz café, progressive rock café and a nightclub. I borrowed an electric violin from one of the members. And now, I almost played it.

In a word, my current performance is the sound like imitation of Takehisa Kosugi who wasthe one I adored before. But, that’s all right. Apparently, I guess I go to my roots. That is to say, when I was conscious about improvisation first, it seemed vinyl of Kousugi’s solo “Catch Wave” and Taj Mahal Travellers’ ones were rare and the supreme music for me.

Now, I don’t think like “what is the supreme?”. But, this kind of the sound is when I feel good during performance, so to speak the sound I have forbidden for myself, eventually that is what I like. Although I am playing like discharging in a sense, I don’t care already. I would play what I like to do. If I can try till I’m blue in the face, if I would be playing a practice frantically every day, there are millions of persons who play more beautiful than me. So, I can’t help but playing in my way.

I have practiced the way to playing by three bows simultaneously now. I’m also developing how to swing the violin with fixing bow, prepared violin. I’ve tried at recent show. By the way, I think my violin teachers were Han Benink and Jean Dubuffet. My performance is no insist, no message, and no meaning. But I will prepare, construct, practice it conforming with environment as much as possible. I leave what you feel from it to listeners. I am irresponsible, but I guess it’s better than obliged. I have not anything to tell you.

There was a violin used for my very early career. Although I turned to guitar or sax later
and I quited once because I felt the limit to my improvisation, I think it was not a stop but a first round of circuit. If I would be tired, I would draw a picture of a violin and took a nap as listening to“ Unaccompanied violin sonata” of Baltok, Lajko Felix, Carlos Zingaro, Papa John, Sugar Cane, Szigeti, Heifetzas, or Kuijken. (cont'd)

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