ASUNA’s (Asuna Arashi) signature work was “Each Organ” (2002), a sound installation that reconsidered the concept of etymology. This work featured in “Improvised Music from Japan” Mag, and the sound installations have been exhibit at OFF SITE gallery and a lot of museum in Japan. He has also released an album of reed organ drones and delicate electronics, “Organ Leaf” (2003), on Lucky Kitchen, and is known for his experimental ambient work. He also often toured with “100 Toys” lo-fi pop performance, which featured a large number of toys.
ASUNA’s current work “100 KEYBOARDS” is a site-specific performance featuring over 100 keyboards. Multiple sound waves on the same frequency are diseminated in multiple directions, creating a complex distribution of acoustic pressure. This causes what is known as a moiré pattern of sound interference.
1. “The function of art is not to communicate one’s personal ideas or feelings, but rather to imitate nature in her manner of operations.” – John Cage
2. “I can’t play those, but I do go to the instrument and hear it. I hear something.” – Alvin Lucier
3. “I wanted to end composing, get rid of it. I wanted it to die out.” – Tony Conrad
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
In case of music = art,
To reconsider things from physical phenomena.
To re-irradiating things from their origins.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
In my case,
It may not have getting yet.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
In case of today’s feelings, (and is it ok for 10?)
Sven-Åke Johansson - Schlingerland / Dynamische Schwingungen – from Atavistic.
Terry Fox - Ataraxia – from Plate Lunch.
Rolf Julius – Early Works Vol.1 – from Fringes Recordings.
Wendy Gondeln (Albert Oehlen) - Fracking – from Magazine.
Max Goldt / Felix Kubin / Mark Boombastik – Fog Frog / Ladies Ladies – from Meeuw Muzak.
Stephan Mathieu & Ekkehard Ehlers – Heroin – from Staalplaat.
Jan Jelinek – Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records – from ~scape.
Sack Und Blumm – Shy Noon – from Gefriem.
Niobe - Tse Tse – from Sonig.
Carl Orff & Gunild Keetman / Orff-Schulwerk – Musik Für Kinder Teil II – from Columbia.
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
In case of memory rather than associate,
My first visit to Berlin was for perform at Transmediale festival in 2008. At that time, I was working on a sound art project called “Valve/Membrance”. That was actually my first time out of Japan. It was my first trip abroad, and because I was still young and stupid, I couldn’t speak English at all, let alone German (i still can’t). and I wasn’t even good at talking to people to begin with.
The first day I arrived in Berlin, I found out that there was going to be a Christian Marclay concert, so I went out by myself. There were many other artists performing, and I noticed out that it was past 1 am after the show. At that time, I thought I had missed the last train and last tram of back to the hotel from the venue. And I did not know how to get back hotel. Furthermore, I was too embarrassed to ask people because of my poor language skills. I was at a loss, but when I left the venue anyway, I could see the Berliner Fernsehturm very far away. Remembering that the hotel I was staying at at that time was near the Berliner Fernsehturm, I started walking in the direction where I could see the tower. As a matter of course, I got lost, but when I finally made it back to the vicinity of the tower, a tram passed by. Yes, that’s when I first learned that tram run in Berlin at midnight in weekend. I walked and wandered for more than three hours alone in Berlin at midnight. it’s my first memory in Berlin.
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I have been living in Kanazawa City, in the north central part of Japan, for around 10 years. However, I have yet to discover my favorite place.
But in Kanazawa have a famous old garden called Kenrokuen. The artistic trees there, which are real size bonsai trees, are amazing. There is also a old castle and contemporary art museums called “21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa” nearby.
And one more thing I would like to mention is a movie theater called “Cinemonde”. There are many art films, social films and indie films showing here. and A record store called “Lykkelig” is another favorite place.
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
In case of if we can’t feel the air vibrations,
It tries to measure the pattern of solid vibrations.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
Christina Kubisch, Fabrizio Plessi - Two And Two – from Song Cycle Records.
In case of book,
Martin Kippenberger by Martin Kippenberger – from Taka Ishii Gallery
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
In case of if he were still alive.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
In case of spectator,
A performance by Alvin Lucier that I saw in 2003 at the ICC / Intercommunication Center in Tokyo and at the Kawasaki City Museum in Kanagawa.
One more thing, I saw Jim O’Rourke & Papa M (David Pajo) show at Cay in Tokyo in 2000. Because I’ve loved SLINT since I was in junior high school! Plus, Alan Licht was playing guitar with in the band at the time!
In case of performer, (not best, but)
At Super Deluxe in Tokyo in 2003. It my first solo live performance as ASUNA was as the opening act for Phill Niblock. Wow. A nervous student of first act who was blown away by the sound pressure of a legend who played for more than 2 hours drone.
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
For artists who are pursuing results, new technology is a fast way to accomplish that. However, then it will become part of the industry pursuing only newness. On the other hand, it also seems to be efficient to refer to past methods of history. However, there is a long history in the past, for which artists fear of recycled work and is very difficult to make their own context. Technologies gives us a new perspective, but I think it is important to see the past from that new point of view. And it is important for me to be able to observe things from a different perspective through technology.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
My old sister taught me Boredoms and Sonic Youth when I was 13 years old. that’s why I’m here. Maybe.
Photo © Benedict Phillips (at FON Festival, Barrow In Ferness, UK)