I made a recording of a Shō (japanese Mouth Organ) playing several chords.I processed the file using Absynth’s granular engine and envelopes.
Sho and U
In the 8th century, a variety of Chinese sheng were introduced to the Japanese court. Some of these instruments, called u by the Japanese, are still preserved in the Shoso-In Imperial Treasure House in the ancient capital of Nara. The present day Japanese free-reed mouth organ, or sho, evolved from these instruments. Sho are traditionally used to produce a chordal texture in Gagaku, the music of the Japanese court.
The present day sho is much thinner than the sheng, although its design is similar, with the pipes arranged in a circular fashion extending from the top of a wooden wind chamber. It usually plays at least an octave higher in general, to the sheng. The sho is an extremely expensive instrument to purchase, as the pipes are usually constructed from blackened hundred year old (or more) bamboo that has been part of a thatched roof, directly above the kitchen in a traditional Japanese house. These houses are rare now, and as such, so are the pipes to make a sho.
Many contemporary composers, both in Japan and in the West, are writing for the sho, and sho virtuosi like Miyumi Miyata and Ko Ishikawa are performing these works internationally, on both the sho and modern reconstructions of the u.
sweet chip tunes at Blip from Minikomi
And as most of you know I am not fully skilled in Japanese so I need to rely on that Google does its job right:
Tetara tinkering, it had long been forgotten about time, Bassari off to later. Well maybe not connected;;
^ ^ Could not become a song;
Some additional info on the KP3:
The sampling side of the KP3 is easy to figure out. Four samples (or phrases, because the KP3 is really of the ‘phrase-sampler’ ilk, rather than a traditional sampler) can be stored. The sampling time is 16 beats at 74 bpm—suggesting that the maximum sample time is about 13.2 seconds for each pad at 16-bit, 48kHz stereo. You can sample at 74 bpm or higher at beat values of 1, 2, 4, 8 or 16 per measure. Each sample can be a continuous loop or a one shot sample. Recording a sample is easily done by pressing “sampling” and then the pad you want to record to. It’s that easy. The only draw back for some will be the fact that it only has RCA-style jacks for all incoming and outgoing audio.
Now the for best part: the effects! This section is incredibly intuitive because of the large centrally located X/Y touch pad. Effects are selected with a knob (there are 128 programs to choose from). The types of effects offered vary widely and can be used for a range of creative possibilities. From grain shifters, slicers, LFO modulation, echo, reverb, flanger, delay, filters to various combinations. Eight memory locations are provided above the touch pad to store your favorites, along with any pad motion recording, pad hold status and position, plus values for fx depth and fx release. Also, another attractive point of the KP3 is its ability to apply effects to the input of the unit, with or without samples playing back, effectively using it as a real-time effects processor. As this device begs to be used live, it does a great job at sampling the input or re-sampling the output on the fly. Another nice extra is the ability of the KP3 to provide a tap tempo and it has auto-BPM detection to beat-sync its tempo to the input (sometimes the sync is sloppy but you can help it by tapping the tap tempo button, indicating to the KP3 where the beat is). This tempo can be output in MIDI to clock other devices, as well as any button you push or activity on the touch pad can transmit/receive MIDI for the option to record and playback your performances in a sequencer.
Steelberry Clones had the great opportunity to talk to Steve Jansen during his recent visit to Sweden. Steve Jansen was former percussionist in the legendary 1980’s new romantic act Japan (also featuring David Sylvian, Richard Barbieri and Mick Karn). After the band decided to quit in 1982 Steve has embarked on a long and successful journey, some times in collaboration with his brother David Sylvian on his solo albums, sometimes in more unknown appearances together with Japanese artists like Yukohiro Takahashi (YMO), but also driving more pop orientated endeavors with the Dolphin Brothers, which he started together with Richard Barbieri. Steve Jansen has at many occasions been dubbed as one of the most important percussionist of his time, and the characteristic sound that gave way for their all time selling album Tin Drum, has provided him with the opportunity to play with most of the leading artists since then. I wanted to know more on what has happened since then, his views on today’s music scene and the evolution of electronic music, as well as discovering his more recent works in the border lands between pop, ambient, arts and experimental music.
Today’s music scene
Steve Jansen is a highly productive musician, if it is not something on his own doing you will certainly find Steve in collaborations with David Sylvian, John Foxx, or as part of the band on tour with Ryuichi Sakamoto in Japan. So I asked Steve to give me an update on what he is up to right now and his collaboration with Sugizo.
Most recently Steve has been involved in finalizing Mick Karn’s new Dalis Car album, partly to keep his spirit alive, but also as a fund raising initiative for his relatives. Steve has therefore been active both as a mixer and performer of the new album and engaged in the process of reworking some of the new tracks. The yet untitled album is due out in the October – November time frame. As most of you know Mick Karn died recently and one of things that Mick Karn was doing at the time was to produce a new Dalis Car album. Dalis Car’s first album “The Walking Hour” released in 1984 was an interesting album where the borders between various musical styles were mixed to create a very unique album at the time. With Sugizo Steve recently contributed a rhythm track to a new recording, a track also featuring Mick Karn on bass.
With some thirty years as a musician, working across most prominent genres – as a new romantic pop star as part of Japan, to exploring the fields of ambient electronics and jazz fusion, to bridging the gap between modern art visuals and experimental music, it is highly relevant to ask Steve’s view on today’s music scene. Steve says that today’s scene is of course in many ways very different from back when he started his career. The power of the record companies put a lot of constraints and pressure on the bands to deliver on time, but also to make music in line with what they and the fans were requesting – “pleasing the record label almost became a means to an end”, Steve says. Today you have much more freedom to explore and the artists does not work under the same pressure. So although it is harder to make a living you are the one in control. With modern music technology you almost have endless possibilities to manipulate sounds and craft your own ideas – inside your head.
Back to Japan
You really cannot write about Steve without touching on the subject of Japan, both as a band and as the country where both David and Steve over the years has continued to find inspiration, collaborations and a solid fan base. When Japan ended as a band in 1982, (doing their last tour in Japan, followed by a live album), the band members ended up doing several projects on their own or in collaborations with each other.
I wanted to know how this fascination with Japan as a country came to shape their music going forward. Steve tells me that it has probably been more that they have all individually made their own subjective interpretations of the music. And although it was a strong influence on the Tin Drum album, Steve says that more recently it has been more important for him to embrace modern rhythms and electronic sounds, although that he has in his collaboration with Sugizo been working to incorporate the sounds of traditional Japanese Taiko drums.
Steve and David Sylvian have over the years done several highly acclaimed albums where they have been exploring the boundaries of ambient, electronic and jazz. As a listener you can easily picture late night improvisations where Steve and David together with other musicians like Harold Budd and Robert Fripp, would jam together beautiful ambient landscapes. I wanted to know if this was an accurate image of the music production process and how the songs took their shape.
Noise Comedy in a Cave. Head Mounted Spring Reverb Cajon with electronics. September 2009, Hyogo, Japan.
Japanese synthpop – kind of
You can at least spot the KORG Polysix in the video
“PLUS CHICKER PV. Featuring SAKO. :)”
Lot’s of nice synths in this video, e.g. Prophets
Note: Japan were a British New Wave group, formed in 1974 in Catford, South London. The band achieved success in the late 1970s/early 1980s, when they were often associated with the burgeoning New Romantic fashion movement (though the band themselves have downplayed any such connection).
Tribute to the terrible things that happened in Japan
ARTIST: BEARS in NIPPON
Song: Fukushima, 2011-05
Hello this is our version of Kraftwerk`s Radioactivity using 2 AtomoSynth krakken keyboards one of them with an Electro Harmonix vocoder, also a krakken module for the sound effects, drums and bass with Fruity loops, recorded on analog tape with a Tascam porta07
Thanks to Karin Arakaki.
Edited version of the Audio-Visual Live Performance by Craftwife + Kaseo + (by Craftwife, Kaseo, sy8) at Make Ogaki Meeting, Japan. We’re using self-developed system. ( bended pikachx toys, voltage-controlled fluorescent lamps, SuperCollider, QuartzComposer + VDMX, LED ties, Modular Synthesizer, cv to midi circuits for visual control etc…)
Craftwife brings 70-80’s style techno pop and was formed in the Summer of 2008. The band’s image reminds a lot of Kraftwerk (though in a miniskirt) and its female members are using iPhones to control self-developed sound synthesis programs and video sampling systems.
Apart from performing live, the band also released an iPhone app, a rather odd one we must say. In the app – developed ‘of the housewifes, by the housewifes, for the housewives’ as the band claims – a certain Wife-Chan brings you tips ‘on household chores’ to make your daily life that bit happier. The messages are only in Japanese though, so we have no clue if they kinda would have worked for us. Wife-Chan has over 200 tips, blinks and tells (Japanese) jokes as well (sometimes that is). Interested? You can get this free app right here.