World Citizen – Chain Music

‘Duality is an illusion’

The terrorist attack that took place on 9/11 in 2001 shook the world to its core. I’m certain we all remember where we were when we heard the news and saw the pictures from New York on TV. For Ryuichi Sakamoto the events were literally “close to home”. Just days after that devastating event he wrote a column in the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun entitled ‘My Viewpoint’, which began: Continue reading “World Citizen – Chain Music”

Maria

Inspired by the art of cinema

‘There was a wave of Russian films which made their way to London during the eighties/nineties which I adored. None more so than Tarkovsky.. ..I believe Tarkovsky’s work has had an influence on my life and work in much the same way that certain key experiences stay with and enrich our lives, become points of reference and renewal. Seeing my first Tarkovsky film was to experience an epiphany of sorts. It registered deeply and profoundly.’ (DS, 1999) Continue reading “Maria”

Some Small Hope

Contrasting voices and a ‘weird groove’

In an age when I can press ‘publish’ and this article will be instantly available to read in the farthest reaches of the globe, and where we can carry our laptops, tablets or smartphones with us wherever we go, it’s difficult to put yourself in the position of Masaki Sekijima back in 1986. I caught up with Masaki, who first shared some background: ‘I joined Ryuichi Sakamoto’s office in late 1984 and was assigned to be his instruments assistant in late 1985.’ The following year, a new project was on the horizon which would require Sakamoto to obtain a visa allowing him to work short-term in the UK. A young Masaki was invited to accompany him on the trip. ‘I was his only staff member who knew how to use or set up his regular instruments at the time.’ Continue reading “Some Small Hope”

Red Guitar

‘my vice and my virtue’

Sat in the Reading Room for Rare Books and Music at the British Library in London, I don the headphones provided. I’ve come to this hushed space to listen to a conversation recorded with photographer Angus McBean in 1989, just months before his passing. Hearing the excited tones of the sprightly octogenarian, it’s impossible not to be caught up in his enthusiasm for life and his sheer joy at recounting tales from a career in which he captured portraits of the stars of stage, screen and literary arts – Audrey Hepburn, Dame Peggy Ashcroft, Ivor Novello, Vivien Leigh, the Beatles, Sir Ralph Richardson, Dame Margot Fonteyn, T.S. Eliot, Benjamin Britten, the list is truly incredible. If a glint in the eye can be caught on audio tape then surely it is captured here. It’s the same playful energy that comes over in the settings created for his subjects, influenced as they were by his early career as a mask-maker and scenery designer for stage productions and by the impact of the Surrealist movement. Continue reading “Red Guitar”

Taking Islands in Africa

‘a masterclass in synth programming’

In March 1980 Japan headed for the country of their band-name, embarking on a tour to support the Quiet Life album. Mick Karn later recalled how their travel was, ‘more often than not, by Shinkansen, the luxuriously smooth bullet train.. ..It was on one such journey I heard a cassette that was being circulated amongst the band, on my Walkman, the latest invention from Sony. Electronic music was the future, Kraftwerk were already a favourite, but there was something different about this band. YMO were the perfect accompaniment to the speeding scenery outside, it was one of those moments when music and visuals became one, quite by accident, and somehow captured the very spirit of Japan. We couldn’t believe that no-one had heard of them abroad.’ (2009) Continue reading “Taking Islands in Africa”