Interview: Yosi Horikawa

26 Dec 2012

An exceptional sound sampler, who devoted his life to sound manipulation and field recordings.

The world around us makes its own music, that we rarely listen with our naive ears. Yosi Horikawa, an exceptional sound sampler, who devoted his life to sound manipulation and field recordings, comes up with a new video for his song “Aotearoa,” a kind of a sneak peek into his creative process.

Directed by Tom Gould, the two minute video takes you into the world of dramatic textural sounds, where a human tends to be a mere listener of this wildlife symphony. Infused with watery vibes and elaborative drums, this lukewarm, yet atmospheric track floats around like a quiet rainfall.

Judging by what he’s do so far, Horikawa’s role in electronic music is truly promising and unique. We’ve been lucky enough to have a small talk with this enticing and charming artist, to ask him about his vision of music and nature.

Having an exceptional ear for the sounds, do you find your daily dose of inspiration spontaneously, in everyday noises or do you need to deeply concentrate and go somewhere for field recordings?

Both situations are true I guess. Usually, I decide the theme and the sounds, before I record music. But then comes the situation, when I hear something interesting, so I need to prepare my recorder immediately. It’s unpredictable, it comes up all of a sudden, so I must have my recorder prepared all the time, I need to make a special microphone holder and wind screen for quick setting, to not lose the details of the sound I record.

When you go field recording, do you have in mind the final product that you want to have? Do you “see” the music before you record it?

Yes sometimes I do see the image before recording, but mostly the final image is not clear. Like in a fog. I find something physical and concrete during the process of my recording, and the foggy image dissolves, becoming more clear little by little.

Japanese electronic artists, unlike the others, are very much “attached” to the nature and its sounds, so do you think it’s a matter of the national perception, that you find music in everything and in a way you feel it differently? 

For me, I feel and find a lot of things in nature. But not only there. Even in your everyday life, I believe we can find meaning and possibility. I believe, if we find balance between our outer and inner worlds, it’s the absolute happiness. From ancient times until modern days, we Japanese, believed that god exists everywhere, even in food and especially in nature itself, so if you think we are attached to the nature, it’s our belief, that influences our music.

Is it hard for you to find enough time to go for field recordings and how often do you go recording? 

Well, it’s not so easy to constantly go field recording, it’s long trip and it takes lots of time to go far, from where I stay now. But as I mentioned, I find interesting sounds in my everyday life, so whenever I’m in a creative mood, I can record everyday. Things get worse when I’m not in the mood at all: I may not record for a month.

What about you, what kind of music do you like to listen to, some favorite artists? 

I like many styles, but especially I’ve been loving the black music: 90′s East Coast Hip Hop, R&B, Jazz. Also fusions of 70′s – 80′s of ECM Records are very special to me.

Yosi Horikawa’s new album will be released Spring 2013, but we can’t wait for his collaborative EP with Jesse Boykins III in January. Stay tuned!

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