I have a long interest in Japanese music since I was a graduate composition student and attended a course with Japanese composer Jo Kondo. The conjunction with several Asian classical musics and the contemporary classical music of that time had a deep impact on me. I had been a shakuhachi player since the middle 1990s. From about the same time I was also deeply engaged in Max/MSP programming writing interactive computer application composition. So when I received a US Japan Friendship Commission Fellowship to go and study in Japan for 6 months in 2003, not only was I elated, but ready. All the software was basically developed there in this 6 month period, while I absorbed traditional Japan. Choshi is a standard shakuhachi piece. The name variously means warm-up, but also tuning. I like to think ‘attuning’ is not a bad rendering, as in meditating. A significant part of the history of shakuhachi is not about music, but rather ZaZen or breath meditation. At one historical point in Japanese history, samurai and soldiers were disbanded, had their weapons taken away and were sent to monasteries. Shakuhachi was how they were taught to focus and meditate. All of this lore is in Choshi Shoes, which is a walk through aspects of the original simple melody. The computer interactions are meant to be ambient as they are gestural and expressive. Nine variations and interactions. These were recorded in 2006 while I was living in the Garrison area, one hour north of NYC along the Hudson. I am grateful to Tom Hamilton for his great mastering work.
Performing interactive music for shakuhachi and Max programming in Osaka and Kobe.