Improvised Music from Japan / Toshimaru Nakamura

Liner Notes of the CD
The Improvisation Meeting at Bar Aoyama

written by Toshimaru Nakamura

A Ten month anniversary.... Even the hottest couple wouldn't celebrate 10 months together? Or would they? Anyway, we are not celebrating, either. We have just found ourselves releasing a CD after ten months of unloading/loading, setting/resetting our instruments. The CD you have and/or are listening to now is the selected and compiled live recordings of "the improvisation meeting at Bar Aoyama".

Tetuzi Akiyama, Taku Sugimoto and I, Toshimaru Nakamura started hosting this gathering in October 1998 at Bar Aoyama, located in Shibuya, Tokyo. Sugimoto plays guitar, Akiyama also plays guitar and some electronic/electric devices occasionally, such as a radio and effect boxes. I play the no-input mixing board which allows me to control internal feedback, produce loops, melodies and so on. Basically, these three and a couple of guest performers play at the bar once a month. Five altogether seems to be the maximum due to the size of the room.

Sachiko M from HOAHIO and I.S.O. (and many other "bands"...) is the guest performer on track #1. She plays the no-sample sampler. She uses only sine waves which her sampler includes as basic "test tones". On track #2, you will hear some beep from a broken synthesizer operated by Utah Kawasaki. Jason Kahn of Repeat is on #3. He was there as a visitor at the time, and now he is a temporary resident in Tokyo. Masahiko Okura from Gnu plays the saxphone and Sean G meehan plays the drums on track #4. There were crumbs of rosin, broken pieces of his bamboo sticks jumping on Meehan's snare drums, scattering around the room. #5 is a solo performance by Yui Kimijima. He is a guitarist of Gaji, and live effects mixer for Thermo. On this appearance, he spinned a reel of a tape recorder around. Masahiko Okura again on #6 but along with a trombone player Tetsuya Higashi this time. #8 is a guitar trio track with Yoshihide Otomo. And you'll hear another guitar company on #12. This is a duo by Kai Wolff (from Berlin) and Akiyama. Drummer Toshiaki Sudoh and saxophone player Masaki Iwasaki are on track #13. Sudoh is the former drummer of Melt Banana, and now plays the drums with above mentioned Kimijima in Thermo. Another couple of tracks with guests lead you toward the end of the CD. One with Jason Kahn, and then we play a well-done good night tune with Sachiko M.

And that's about it. Come and join us when you're in Tokyo. Just get off the Yamanote line at Shibuya station, climb up a little hill on Roppongi-dori avenue (in the direction to Azabu), and right before you are swallowed by the Aoyama tunnel, you'll find a gray door on your left. This is Bar Aoyama. Usually no sign. A litte strange as it almost seems to be an abandoned space. Sometimes, some artists exhibit their works on and around the door,though, so be careful not to step on anything! We're there from 9 o'clock on the first Wednesday of every month. Hope to see you sometime.

Last updated: October 25, 1999