Archive for the ‘Japan’ Category


November 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Thank you kindly for your constant interest in Merzbau! Only today after a random visit here I realized that there have been  more than 13000 visitors to this blog! Merzbau is over [at least for now] but this does not mean that I will bring it down. It will remain online for archival purposes.

There has been a return to the merzposting though. There is a new incarnation of this ongoing ‘effort’ that is called Llamarinth. This is a new journal of the weird and wonderful maintained by me and a very dear person to me, houdinismother. I am sure that Merzbau readers will find many things of interest there and they will not be disappointed.

I would be glad to see you and maybe hear from some of you over at Llamarinth!




Tōru Takemitsu [武満 徹] Music for Films

April 4, 2008 6 comments

Takemitsu’s contribution to film music was considerable; in under 40 years he composed music for over 100 films, some of which were written for purely financial reasons (such as those written for Noboru Nakamura). However, as the composer attained financial independence, he grew more selective, often reading whole scripts before agreeing to compose the music, and later surveying the action on set, “breathing the atmosphere” whilst conceiving his musical ideas. One notable consideration in Takemitsu’s composition for film was his careful use of silence (also important in many of his concert works), which often immediately intensifies the events on screen, and prevents any monotony through a continuous musical accompaniment. For the final battle scene of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran, Takemitsu provided an extended passage of intense elegiac quality that halts at the sound of a single gun shot, leaving the audience with the pure “sounds of battle: cries screams and neighing horses”.

Takemitsu attached the greatest importance to the director’s conception of the film; in an interview with Max Tessier, he explained that, “everything depends on the film itself […] I try to concentrate as much as possible on the subject, so that I can express what the director feels himself. I try to extend his feelings with my music.”

[from wikipedia]

Takemitsu wrote the music for 93 Japanese films. He was closely associated with film-makers of the Japanese new wave, and provided the score for such Japanese classics as Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes and Kurosawa’s Ran. His film music was as important to him as his concert music, chiefly because of his obsession with the cinema. He was the ultimate film-buff, and boasted that he saw around 300 films a year, his tastes embracing Hollywood blockbusters, westerns, art movies and trash. When visiting a strange country, would often head straight for a cinema as his first port of call, whether or not he understood the language. He drew parallels between music and film, in their manipulation of time, perception and memory.

‘I learn a great deal about people through movies…even if I can’t understand what they are saying and don’t know anything about their culture. By watching them in the movies, I can get a sense of their feelings and their inner lives. I come to understand foreign people in ways that are different from talking to them…it’s a musical way of understanding’.


In the early 90s there was an edition of six cds [unsure if there was a vinyl version also], released and sold individually, featuring Toru Takemitsu’s film music. From what I can tell this series did not get wide distribution outside Japan and the small number of copies available is long now gone [after some careful googling there is a slight chance of tracking some last ones, three or four months ago seen a couple of them @ a European distribution site which name I cannot recall, but certainly not the entirety of the series]. In 2006, a box edition, featuring the cds mentioned above plus one with audio documents and interviews, was released and distributed only in Japan. To the best of my knowledge it is already out of print, thus presented in Merzbau.

Documentary on Takemitsu’s soundtracks

found on youtube where it was uploaded by the musician Edward Lawes, keeper of Complement.Inversion.Etc blog.

part 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Extra: Do not miss a Xenakis interview also uploaded by Lawes on youtube [part 1 / 2 / 3]

J. A. Seazer [寺原 孝明 (Terahara Takaaki) / J.A. Caesar]

December 30, 2007 2 comments

Two [cassette] beauties on eBay yesterday.

Shuji Terayama’s “Directions To Servants” (A.C.R.C-001)

Shuji Terayama’s “The Lemmings” (A.C.R.C-002)

Unfortunately [?], outbid on both [ended 61$ and 76$].

Stay tuned as I plan to post related material in the near future.

Now playing: Derek Bailey – My Melancholy Baby
via FoxyTunes

The shape of art to come [?]

December 29, 2007 Leave a comment

The experimental and pioneering art of Yugo Nakamura. Networks and interactivity as a medium.


Now playing: John Coltrane – Sun Ship
via FoxyTunes

Categories: art, experimental, Japan Tags: , , ,

Tatsumi Hjikata 土方 巽

December 25, 2007 Leave a comment

Tatsumi Hijikata (土方 巽 Hijikata Tatsumi, March 9, 1928 – January 21, 1986) was a Japanese choreographer, and the founder of a genre of dance performance art called Butoh. By the late 1960s, he had begun to develop this dance form, which is highly choreographed with stylized gestures drawn from his childhood memories of his northern Japan home. It is this style which is most often associated with Butoh by Westerners.

Hijikata was an innovator in movement technique. He was a master of the use of energy qualities in constructing expressive movement. He would use sounds, paintings, sculptures, and words to construct movement, not exclusively in a formal or literal memetic application, but by integrating these elements via visualization into the nervous system to produce movement qualities that could be very subtle, light, angelic and ghost-like, or demonic, heavy, dark, grotesque, violent and extreme.

This use of visualization (triggered and supported by the above mentioned elements) masters sophisticated movement qualities similar in many ways to the Mime System of Jacques Lecoq.

from wikipedia

Featured Videos:

Hosotan [part1 /2]

A girl [part 1/2]

Hijikata Tatsumi –肉体の叛乱– [most probably part of documentary]


Keiji Haino + butoh 舞踏 [+some scattered thoughts + 1st take of dmtls Visionary Heads list]

December 21, 2007 Leave a comment

Long lasting interest in an artist’s body of work is built gradually. Layer by layer something new / interesting / beautiful / provoking emerges until you can reach the core of the work. By then you will know if this is the thing for you. It cannot just fit your existing interests and tastes, it must make you take steps further into the unknown, stretching acquired taste and open new paths to unexplored fields. This is what happens with Artists.

The above was said in order to express the excitement I, at least, feel while in new territories under the direction of visionary heads. The ever-changing/never-complete list here is a long and winding one: Hans Bellmer, John Zorn, Salvador Dali, Theodor Adorno, Jani Christou, Hermann Nitsch, Marcel Duchamp, Fakir Musafar, Friedrich Nietzsche, Jan Svankmajer, David Lynch, William Gibson, Alejandro Jodorowksy, Umberto Eco, Steven Stapleton, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Helmut Newton, J. G. Ballard, Kenneth Anger, Joel-Peter Witkin, George Bataille, Maya Deren………and so on…..

Well Keiji Haino is the latest ‘candidate’ for this list. Listening to Black Blues (Violent Version mostly) has become something like an obsession of mine [might write about it in more detail in future post]. It was while I was drifting away on Haino’s wailing and cathartic sounds that I discovered butoh. It was like a revelation. Dark, powerful and bizarre. Off to undiscovered lands.

“[Butoh] happens to be a dance of life and death. Without the measure of sorrow, there is no life. Without the measure of life there is no death. Within the dark, light shines even brighter. Butoh is striking. Anyone who has seen any type of the presentation of it would be able to tell you that. The first time I saw it I was intrigued. I had studied Japanese as a young child growing up and never had I seen the stark, confronting style of butoh, in anything that I was exposed to. I decided to discover more about Butoh. And this, after weeks of study is what I have seen; darkness amongst the joy, sorrow amongst the light…” Emily Burke

Featured in this post are four short running videos of butoh performance and the music of K. Haino

Zack Fuller and Keiji Haino at Judson Church [1/2]

Shiho Ishihara + Keiji Haino [1/2]


Keiji Haino [+friends]

December 19, 2007 1 comment

It has been over a year that I have Black Blues [both soft and violent version] in my collection. At first attempt(s) they seemed impenetrable . A few days back I decided to give them one more spin [after long time] and see what I could make of it. That was it. As if a door was unlocked, a door to the musical world of the dark Japanese shaman, the extraordinary world of Keiji Haino. Another chapter for exploration and a great reason for a collection expansion.

The videos featured in this post have little to do with the musical style of Black Blues. They are another piece of KH universe and for sure extreme and intense. Beautiful.

Keiji Haino, Otomo Yoshihide, Tori Kudo & Tamio Shiraishi

Recorded at the Black Birthday Party II (Shinjuku, September 1st, 2005). Tori Kudo (piano), Keiji Haino (guitar), Tamio Shiraishi (alto sax) & Otomo Yoshihide (guitar).

Keiji Haino Yamatsuka Eye John Zorn [+ Christian Marclay]

Violent and extreme improvisation by an all-star company of musicians.

P.S. I made ‘backup’ links to the videos in their titles apart from posting them. I am constantly facing problems when posting stuff from If anyone has any info or solution to this matter please contact.

P.S. 2 Due to some technical reasons uploading Logothetis cd 2/2 is canceled for today. Promise it will be up until the end of the week.

Now playing: Keiji Haino – Drifting
via FoxyTunes