Hideki Umezawa & Andrew Pekler – Two Views of Amami Ōshima (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 32:33 minutes | 347 MB | Genre: Electronic, Ambient
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Edições CN
In 1958, an unknown 50 year-old painter from Chiba prefecture, relocated to an island off the southern coast of Japan to embark on the final phase of his life as an artist. Isson Tanaka departed alone and arrived on Amami-Oshima as a lone visitor.
His life on the island was devoted almost exclusively to his art, and with the exception of a few supporters, the local population viewed him as an eccentric. Tanaka died in 1977 while his first solo show was in preparation and thus never had an exhibition dedicated to his work in his lifetime. He was a strange visitor to the island but in the decades following his death, appreciation for his work grew steadily and provided a newfound awareness of the nature, myths and beliefs that are particular to Amami.
Forty plus years later, in 2018, a dual-channel video installation by the artists and curator unit of Seiha Kurosawa + Kanako Azuma + Hideki Umezawa, made for the exhibition “Fukami: Une Plongée Dans L’Esthétique Japonaise” engages with the multi-faceted work produced by Isson Tanaka during the last years of his life on Amami Oshima. The video installation, entitled “Dokkyaku” (The Lone Visitor), shifts between the texture and materiality of Tanaka’s paintings (through the pigments employed and his remarkable compositions) to specificities of the relationship between the nature of Amami Oshima and its human and non-human inhabitants, allowing viewers to understand – poetically – the artist’s sensitivity to nature and the expressivity of his works.
Inspired by the recordings he had made on Amami while working on “Dokkyaku”, Hideki Umezawa embarked on creating an original sound work based on combining these materials with the analog electronic and computer-generated sounds and textures from his studio practice. He generously invited Andrew Pekler to remix his work, but upon hearing the field recordings and discussing various approaches the two artists decided to the take up the challenge (in the spirit of Isson Tanaka) of individually capturing and evoking the multiple environments hidden on Amami through an immersion in the island’s diverse sonic phenomena.
The result is the split-release Two Views of Amami Ōshima.
Hideki Umezawa’s composition Dokkyaku moves through several distinct sections while positioning the captured sounds within and against vivid electronic textures and rhythm structures, creating a sensitive, highly stylized interpretation of the natural ambiance of Amami that Isson Tanaka had also carefully practiced.
Andrew Pekler (who has never actually visited the island) offers Amami Remote Extension: using elements from Umezawa’s field recording he transforms them into an ever-unfolding yet static sound environment that evokes the richness of the island’s natural world but also seems to suggest the sense of remoteness and isolation that Amami represents to an outsider.
1. Dokkyaku (16:09)
2. Amami Remote Extension (16:24)