Hiroshi yoshimura - soundscape 1: surround

Home recorded on a minimal setup of keyboard and Fender Rhodes, Music for Nine Post Cards was Yoshimura’s first concrete collection of music, initially a demo recording given to the Hara Museum of Contemporary Art to be played within the building’s architecture. This was not background music in the prior Japanese “BGM” sense of the word, but “environmental music”, the literal translation of the Japanese term kankyō ongaku [環境音楽] given to Brian Eno’s “ambient” music when it arrived in late 70’s Japan. Yoshimura, along with his musical co-traveler Satoshi Ashikawa, searched for a new dialog between sound and space: music not as an external absolute, but as something that interlocks with a physical environment and shifts the listener’s experience within it. Erik Satie’s furniture music, R. Murray Schafer’s concept of the soundscape and Eno’s ambience all greatly informed their work, but the specific form of tranquil stasis presented on releases like Nine Post Cards is still difficult to place within a specific tradition, remaining elusive and idiosyncratic despite the economy of its construction. This record offers the perfect introduction to Hiroshi’s unique and beautiful worldview: it’s one that can be listened to – and lived in – endlessly.

While Eno had suggested that his early ambient works might fade into the background and create a meditative space in which listeners could think more deeply, Yoshimura’s environmental music was intended to become part of a physical space in order to color one’s experience within it. In the years following his debut Yoshimura would create music for galleries, museums, train stations and other buildings both public and private; between 1986 and 1988, he created veritable soundtracks to the prefabricated houses built by Japan’s Misawa Home Corporation. Certainly environmental and ambient music exist within two largely overlapping sets in the same musical Venn diagram. Moreover, their distinct yet similar purposes are not mutually exclusive. At the same time, the way in which Yoshimura approached Music for Nine Postcards in particular is remarkably well suited to what he saw as the genre’s environmental utility.

Hiroshi Yoshimura - Soundscape 1: SurroundHiroshi Yoshimura - Soundscape 1: SurroundHiroshi Yoshimura - Soundscape 1: SurroundHiroshi Yoshimura - Soundscape 1: Surround


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