response to Oto’s visit

June 8, 2007


I was quite struck by Oto’s discussion of post-techno. Before that class, I didn’t think much of the merits of electronica and certainly never drew the connection between the post-modernist movement in visual art and that of musical art. From my limited experience with electronica in the clubbing scene in high school (most of which I spent in Tokyo), I had always regarded techno/trance fans as mostly ecstasy consumers (because, to be fair, ecstasy and trance do go well). Furthermore, unlike the majority of my peers, I have always harbored a gross lack of interest in following music trends; consequently, I gave no thought to “noise music” and the art of dissonance and carelessly concluded that electronica is nothing more than, well, noise. It’s a shame that “noise music” is characterized as a high-class (and therefore expensive) thing in Japan; if the artistic merits of this genre of music were more popularized everywhere, maybe my kind of ignorance would be less common. Also, I resent the fact that electronica is not included in the Media Aesthetics curriculum. Studying this genre of music would certainly give insight to understanding “the grain of the voice”, the minimalist movement, and many other things examined in that HUM sequence. Does anyone want to write a suggestion note to the Humanities department head?



June 5, 2007

All of these posts about Nori and RubberTIT/tari&MASA make me wish that it were still the beginning of this quarter! It was awesome getting to know Nori a lot better when we were showing him around campus. I can’t believe he’s gone through so much at such a young age… To think that there is only a few years between us is crazy!

MASA’s saxophone performance during one of our class dinners was a definite highlight. I was so blown away by her playing! And then a week or so ago I went to the university’s Jazz X-Tet performance and watched them perform. They had a female trumpet player and she was great.

Overall, the Celebrating Protest Series brought in amazing speakers… And it was awesome to meet people who have done so much and are so passionate about what they have fought for and do for a living.

I really enjoyed Kiku’s presentation on techno and post-techno in class. That was truly a treat… I remember my jaw dropping the entire time because it was all so new to me.

Emi’s visit was great, too. We all remember the snail mating story, don’t we? Haha.

And, of course, Beryl & Addie. American otaku unite! That was a very fun class period as well.

Kiku’s Presentation on “oto”

May 30, 2007

On April 11th, Kiku visited us as our class speaker. He is a musician, composing Post Techno music. He calls this “oto” which is the Japanese translation for sound. Kiku taught us about this genre of music, Post techno. Basically Post Techno is a genre within Electronica. Electronica contains Post Techno, Experimental, and Techno. Post techno has snappy sounds in addition to techno, and combines experimental sound to techno. He played us many samples of this music, and it was really interesting to hear. I dont’ think I have ever consciously heard this type of music before. Kiku studied at Keio University in Japan, and he wrote his thesis on something very cool! He wrote it on CD Skipping Music. What he did was take CD’s and write on them with permanent marker. He then played these CD’s and the CD maid skipping, scratching, “Noise”. He started with Post Techno and creating music using computers and other high technology in 1998, when he met Carsten Nicolai at a Techno Culture event. After this incident Kiku was fascinated with the music.

I have never heard of Post-techno until Kiku explained it to us. It is interesting – almost a new genre of music only capable of being created in this century with all the new high technology DJ’s can use to create and mix music. It is interesting that there is such a segregation between the underground, club music, and the highly institutionalized music. One of the pictures he showed us of these “High Institutions” that play well distinguished Post-Techno music – the one that he showed in Germany, I recognized the building. My parents live in Germany and I visit once a year or so. Everytime I saw this unique buildling with bright lights and glass panes everywhere I always wondered what went on in that building. My dad had ignorantly explained it to me as a “contemporary art museum” but now I finally know that to certain groups of people in the Post-Techno music industry, that is more of a sacred place that only the best can exhibit their music. I hope the next time I walk by the building to go inside and check it out (or listen!) .

Kiku also showed a “Dumb Type” video, which was pretty intense. The white scene that Kiku commented as inspired by hospitals, was really weird. If I was watching the performance live in the dark theatre I would definitely be a bit creeped out.

Kiku is also active in STOP!Rokkashomura campaign. Rokkashomura is a village in Japan that is having to fight for their rights against a nuclear recycling plant that was built there. There is much political debate on whether to keep the plant or to stop it because of the amount of money and jobs Nihon Gennen brought into the village due to their recycling plant. I have reviewed Rokkashomura in another entry so please look for it!

I really enjoyed Kiku’s visit, and wish him luck in his new endeavors with rock and roll music!


The “oto” of music.

May 28, 2007

I profiled Kiku Hibino, aka. Oto, for the Chicago Weekly for the week of May 20-26.
If you are interested in more information on Kiku or just want to know what he’s up to, pick up a copy!


Oto – thoughts

April 14, 2007

Kiku’s presentation, coming from the biased perspective of an unabashed music aficionado, was most excellent. The world of post-techno is a new realm to me, so of course being presented with information on it is like being a kid in a candy shop. Although the word “techno” has negative connotations (IMO) here in the U.S. – perhaps post-electronica would be more appropriate here, as “techno” in Japan seems to equate to “electronica” over here – it’s clear that most of the post-techno stuff is anything but thoughtless dance music (even the club-type stuff was more interesting than a lot of what I would consider “techno”). But not to get caught up in meaningless genre debates-

I would be interested to know where stuff like Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Adult., or Tim Hecker fit in in the world of post-techno electronica. I imagine they would be considered more “rock-tronica” stuff, but I think that kind of a broad-based term isn’t particularly just, especially considering the wide variety of artists who use sounds beyond programmed beats and glitches. It’s interesting that a lot of post-techno stuff is considered “high art,” though – I can’t imagine museums being interested in playing Adult. as “high art” (maybe for performance art or something, as background music…)

And just to throw it out there, the dumb type stuff is really freakin’ sweet.

dumb type on youtube

April 14, 2007

Found some “dumb type” vids, that Kiku introduced in class, on youtube.

dumb type-memorandum (Chapter 2-1)

The rest..

music-related links

April 13, 2007

Wow, thanks to the music presentation group, this blog is becoming a great resource site on popular culture!

I will add some links.


Stop Rokkasho

(From “Hear” category, you can download “Before Then” by Norma Field and Oto. )

Ian Condry’s website (author, Hip-hop Japan) – You can see a music video by King Giddra with anti-war theme.

Japan Times on Hip-hop in Japan

youtube – Toshiko Akiyoshi “The Village” performance

Read the rest of this entry »