Stamp Mix #97: Midori Takada

Midori Takada is a composer and percussionist from Tokyo, whose prolific work is characterised by its minimalism, uniquely rich texture and elegance. Exposed to African drumming while living in Berlin in 1980s sparked a life-long relationship with the sound and past work includes Mkwaju Ensemble and collaboration with musicians from around Africa and Asia, including Kakraba Lobi from Ghana and Korean zither player Chi Seong-Ja. The overwhelming success of two reissues on WRWTFWW in 2017 have confirmed how loved Midori’s work is and has thankfully led to an influx of European live dates.

Rarely known to give interviews in English, or curate mixes we’re blessed to offer both here. Read her words, translated into Japanese, alongside Midori’s selection consisting of music that she either produced solo and with others or albums she featured on.

Krankbrother host Midori Takada and Jan Jelenik at Union Chapel, London on 17th April. More info on Facebook and tickets from RA.

You’ve spoken before about the music scene was about more than the music and that it was accompanied as a whole by architecture, fine art and dance. What particular aspects of these do you find to play a part in achieving your sound? Or is it more a case of how your music plays its part amongst it?

Depending on the environment that it is placed, sound resonates differently. The structure and material of the architecture governs how sound reverberates. The quality and speed also changes the sound as well. While the body is inside an environment in which the sound is resonating, it receives the vibrations of the sound waves with their skin and is listening. In other words, everything is all connected.
音は環境によって響き合う。建築の構造やマテリアルが響きを左右する。質を変え、速度を変える。身体はその中に在り、音波を皮膚で振動Vibrationとして受け止め、 聞いている。即ち全てが連携しているのだ。


Your inclusions of sounds from heartbeats and train lines within recordings and live performances demonstrate a conscious ear. When recreating these sounds or recording them do you often find yourself surprised with the results? Both on the body and with the recording?
レコーディングや生演奏中のハートビーツとトレインラインを組み込んだ音楽は、常に音を意識していなければ聞こえてこないでしょう。このような音を生み出す際やレコーディングする際、ご自 身の体やレコーディング自体のどちら にも何か驚く事はありますか。

It is fascinating that for a fact that one can control the flow of one’s blood stream. The sound of it, running through your body, is like an overflowing, rapid stream or a leisurely flowing, mighty river.
血流を自分自信でコントロール出来るという事実!その音はまるでほとばしる急流のように、 或いはユッタリと大河のように私達の身体を流れている。


You became interested in African music whilst in Berlin. How did you first become interested in it? What was the catalyst and was there anything, in particular, you found alluring?
ベルリン滞在中に、アフリカンミュージックに興味をお持ちになられましたよね。当初はどのよう に興味が湧いたのでしょうか。特別に魅惑される何かがあったのでしょうか。

During the 1970s, it was a golden era of Deconstruction of western music. It was pursuing the notion of non-melody and out of the unit of time. This trend evoked a bloat in resonance which help trigger a diversification in tone which resulted in a need for the use of multiple instruments. I call this phenomenon, “the music of capitalism”. On second thought, in African music there is a wisdom to bring out an abundance with minimal resources. It creates a game of numbers like structure or an elaborate architecture. And it also demonstrates how you can create a universe with just two hands (or two legs). I think that this formation of lines and points that resembles computer graphics (and what’s more, it is organic) is quite beautiful.
70年代当時、西洋音楽は脱構築Deconstructionの時代。音楽は脱メロディー、脱拍節 を追っていた。その流れで音響は肥大化し、音色の多様性を求めて多くの素材を必要と した。私はコレを「 資本主義の音楽」と呼ぶ。 翻って、アフリカの音楽は少ない素材から如何に豊かさを引き出すかという知恵が有 る。それは数のゲームのような構造か緻密な建造物を作り出している。また、二本の手 で(また足で)どれだけの宇宙を作るかという事だ。私はその線と点で創られた、コンピ ューター グラフィックのような(しかも有機的な)姿を美しいと思った。


Contemporary musicians and soundscape artists such as Brian Eno and Steve Reich are often cited as your influences from your early career. How about your recent work? Are there any contemporary artists more recently that you would say have had an influence or admire? Do you find acts such as Autechre / Boards of Canada that incorporate similar types of recordings into other musical contexts interesting?
ブライアン・イーノ氏 やスティーブ・ライヒ氏のようなコンテンポラリーミュージシャンや音景ア ーティストは良く高田さんの初期の活動に影響を受けたと述べられています。最近の作品はどうですか? 最近のコンテンポラリー・アーティストで影響を受けた方や、尊敬する方はいらっしゃいます か。似たタイプのレコードと別背景の音楽を併せて作るオウテカやボーズ・オブ・カナダのような グループには興味がありますか。

In recent times, where I am heading towards and fascinated about examining the possibilities of the capabilities of the body. You can say, it is visual arts. Even if it is electronics, I seek an embodiment of it. I try to keep my interest in music away from the so-called music scene.
近年、私の興味は身体の可能性に向かっている。視覚芸術とも言える。 electronicsであっても、そこに身体性を求めている。音楽への興味はいわゆるミュージ ックシーンとは離れている。


You have some history to the Sound Process label having played on the late Satoshi Ashikawa’s ‘Still Way’ in 1982. There has definitely been a renewed interest in these records over the past few years. It seems there is a fairly common link back to this label and similar artists through art galleries and installations. Was there any central correlation to this scene of artists and how you found each other at the time?
1982年のサウンドプロセスラベル、故芦川聡氏のStill Way で演奏された経歴もお持ちですね。
過去数年に渡ってこのレコードが新たな関心を呼んだのは間違いないでしょう。アートギャラ リーや展覧品を通してこのラベルと相以のアーティストは共通のリンクがあるように思えま す。この活動分野のアーティストとは主要な相互関係があったのでしょうか、また当初はお互 いにどう思われましたか。


It was an era where each artist who took part in the realization of their concept of environmental music was achieved. There were opportunities where we were able to work together. There were a few musicians who gathered since they were conscious about stepping away from existing music and a conservative music scene, in striving to share amongst each other, the creation of a new kind of music and values. At the time, we were all quite young and unknown and worked within a small budget to produce this music. I think it was all of this was born out of the necessity of the times.
環境音楽の概念をそれぞれの形で実現していた時代。互いに共有する仕事も有っ た。少ない予算、無名で皆若く、既存の音楽や、保守的な環境から離れて何か新しい音と価値観を共有するという意識の元に集まっていた何人かの音楽家がいた。時代の中で生まれた必然性。


Thanks to Saori Hawker for the question translations.



Comments are closed.