12k Live In Tokyo: Taylor Deupree – Part One
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“Recorded live on April 10th and 11th, 2010, Tasogare: Live in Tokyo documents the performances of five 12k artists at two temples in Tokyo, Japan…
Komyoji Temple (April 10th) saw the first-ever performance in Japan by Australia’s Solo Andata, known for creating deep, textured music with found objects, homemade instruments and very little in the way of electronics or software tricks. 12k veteran Sawako whose voice and delicate computer work were accompanied by guitarist Hofli and Moskitoo, who always play the line between experimentalism and abstract pop, joined the duo.
On April 11th, the 12k weekend moved to the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Jiyu Gakuen Myonichi-kan where Solo Andata performed again, this time with the improvisational beauty of the four-piece Minamo and label founder Taylor Deupree whose travel-worn state musically played out in the most hushed and calming way.
Tasogare: Live in Tokyo represents the importance of recording and keeping documents of performances seen and heard around the far corners of the globe – a chance for many others to hear what went on a world away in live sets that can’t, and won’t be duplicated again. This edition also represents the adventures formed by artists connected by a label, sharing travels, food, photography, music and sleepless nights. It is the way in which each artist, in their own unique and completely different sounding way, contributes to a collective spirit.” – 12K
The press release mentions a “collective spirit” in the project. How is this embodied in the record?
Whenever I travel with a group of friends/12k artists there’s always a great friendship and bonding… especially in Japan where I have so many friends and we have such a great time. There’s always something new and exciting that we can share. This trip to Japan was the first time the Solo Andata guys were there, so it was great to see them soak it up and reminded me of my first time in Japan. Likewise, I had this big photography show, which was such a great experience, and everyone was helping me out with it… hanging the prints, supporting me. We travel together, eat together, explore, get upset, joke, and love anything that goes with spending a week with a group of people. Collecting these recordings and times into a release captures it for all of us.
How did the project come to be? Was it making the most of an existing event, or did it require a lot of organization to record?
Oh, it came about totally impulsively on the spot. That’s how these things always happen… and the best way for them to happen. Just a desire to suddenly capture the moment, and to get everyone to agree to release a CD. No organization whatsoever.
Was there a planned approach to the material? Did the artists receive a brief or was it an honest recording of the performances on the day?
Not at all… just a recording of the day. I don’t even think we decided to release anything until the days after… or maybe that night. But it’s not at all about practice, or staged recordings… it’s all about capturing the moment. I’ve had plenty of similar ideas to release live recordings only to find out that the artists weren’t happy with their sets, or the recordings came out poorly… and in those cases the idea fizzles away. We were lucky this time that everyone was happy with their sets and the recordings came out well.
What can you tell us about the locations where the recording was done?
The night of the 10th was in a beautiful old, very traditional temple called Komyoji. Everyone sits on the floor on tatami, no shoes… all very typical for performances in Japan. Very hushed, beautiful setting. On the 11th the temple was more modern looking… designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. On the inside there were benches, so it wasn’t sitting on the floor. It was a much bigger, more open space than the previous night. It had a stage and such, it was a space designed for performances…so it was quite different than the very traditional temple of the night before. I think the Wright building used to be part of a girl’s school… so it was probably some sort of “auditorium” (to make a western reference) for the school…. though still very different than one would think of an auditorium in the modern, western sense.
Had the people that recorded the concert been to these spaces before?
I don’t think so… but it was only a simple matter of recording straight from the house mixing board so the setup was nothing new or strange.
Was it difficult to organize the shows at these temples?
My good friend and 12k artist Keiichi Sugimoto usually handles all of the organizing in Tokyo. I don’t know how difficult it is, all I know is that when I want to play in Japan Keiichi has some magical abilities and gets me wonderful shows! He’s fantastic and seems to be well connected.
Did audiences attend both the shows?
Yes, of course! Fantastic turnouts, in both cases. Unfortunately for the show of April 10th, I literally went from the airport to the venue. I had just arrived in Tokyo. Went to the show with my luggage and very little sleep. There wasn’t any room left inside the temple, I think it was sold out… but I managed to stand in back sometimes when I wasn’t going in and out dealing with arrival “hello’s” and such. Both concerts had wonderful, respectful audiences. And, in the case of the 10th, there were a few hundred more souls listening… as the temple opened up to a cemetery on a hill… so they got to listen, too.
How did you approach editing and sequencing the record? Did certain performances or songs stand out straight away, or were there multiple tracks vying for inclusion?
Every artist except Moskitoo played a fairly linear set of non-stop sound. Moskitoo played different songs. So, for her, she picked 3 of her favorites from the performance and I edited them together in a seamless flow. Otherwise it was just a matter of everyone picking their favorite parts or favorite recording, in Solo Andata’s case who actually played two nights and have 2 sets recorded. All of the recordings, again, except Moskitoo’s, are unedited in the sense that we chose a starting point and an ending point, but didn’t do any cutting within that area, so what you’re hearing is the true flow of the show.
If so, is there any more material?
There’s definitely more material. What’s presented here is about half of each artist’s show. Unfortunately we’re restricted by the time limits of a CD. But, everyone managed to pick their favorites moments that we felt captured the essence of the shows. Also, what works in a live setting may be less (or more) interesting in a home listening setting.
When mastering, was the approach to retain the live sound or to present it in a different light?
My approach to mastering is usually always “to make it sound better.” Many times a mastering engineer will be so clinical and precise about everything… and while it’s really, really important not to cause any damage to a recording… I do not claim, at all, to be a “transparent” mastering engineer. I’m not afraid to add some vibe and analog love to a recording. It’s what people come to me for I think. So, in the case of this album we’re dealing with live mixes straight from the board… there was no studio mixing or precise control over mix elements… what’s there is there, for better or for worse, mistakes an all… so it’s just a matter of taking these somewhat rough recordings and making them sound as good as they can.
Are there plans for similar releases in future?
This is the third or fourth live recording release on 12k… so, definitely. It’s really fun for all of the artists involved to have these concerts and memories captured in a release. Of all the concerts I remember most, it’s those that I’ve recorded and released… just seeing the CD is a reminder of the good times.
- Interview by Alex Gibson, thanks go to Corey Fuller for the use of his photography.