Improvised Music from Japan

View Masters

The sound collection and observation organization

The organization got its start in 1999 with an environmental sound project that attempted to "use the ear to approach sound from a different angle. Musicians, writers, designers and other like-minded people came together to form a kind of club. The group's keyword, "sound-spotting," refers to the main activity of its members: finding and recording sounds that each person finds interesting. In this way, the spotlight is trained on what were previously anonymous sounds. The people who collect these sounds are called "sound spotters." Allowing anyone to enjoy the recording process and following an easy-to understand approach is the group's motto, and a kind of lifework for its members. To make observation and documentation (a recording along with the date and location it was made, a photograph and a comment) possible, only simple equipment and a limited amount of technical prowess are necessary. One of the aims of the project is to create a library of the sounds that have been observed. Needless to say, the environment around us undergoes bewildering changes as a result of technological developments and various social trends. As we surf the waves of the drastically-changing society we live in, we also come into contact with primal aspects of the landscape that remain unchanged. "Sound," under these circumstances, seems to function as a reflection in a mirror (=the viewer). This is the concept that provides the foundation for View Masters (the Sound Collection and Observation Organization) as it attempts to organize events and exhibit materials, create a library of aural observations, contribute sound documents to CD compilations and participate in educational art programs.

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