release date: 01 June 2021
listen on soundcloud

travels in japan 2018

This episode is excerpts from field recordings I made in Japan in 2018. Travelling with three friends, we spent time in Kyoto, Higashi-Hiroshima and Uno, a coastal town providing access to the fabled art islands of the Seto inland sea.

Most of this sonic montage is uninterrupted by explanation other than to introduce recordings made inside the remarkable Teshima Art Museum.

All of us had long wanted to visit the inspiring cultural phenomenon of the Seto Art Islands. From Uno, we ventured to the islands of Teshima and Naoshima to experience the art projects and singular museums – particularly the stunning Teshima Art Museum, a huge concrete dome housing one art project, the creative vision of artist Rei Naito and architect Ryue Nishizawa. The building resembles a huge water drop and the installation inside activates water in subtle, slow and beautiful ways.

The internal space is 60 by 40 meters with no supporting columns. The vast open space reaches only 4.3 meters height, gently rising from the circumference. The floor is polished concrete with barely noticeable shallow depressions scattered around.

Two large oval openings allow wind, light and sound into this unusual volume. Trickles of water continuously emerge from tiny openings in the ground plane, pooling in the slight yet broad depressions to create reflective surface.

The unusual space causes extreme sonic illusions and reverberative feedback. It also acts as a sonic telescope, capturing and amplifying distant sounds.

I visited the Teshima Museum twice. It was raining on the second day and I spent a couple of hours inside the structure watching passing showers fall through the oculus apertures in perfectly defined oval cascades.

While visitors are asked to not take photos inside, the attendants had no issue with me making audio recordings.

This episode concludes with excerpts from my recordings on that rainy day inside the Teshima Art Museum.

The Seto Art Islands

Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park

track list

01:30 – 03:35 downstairs interior of Kawai Kanjiro House Museum, Kyoto

03:30 – 06:00 observances at Shinto shrine, Kuramadera, north of Kyoto

05:45 – 06:45 natural spring on walking path up to Kuramadera

06:45 – 09:20 temple interior, Kuramadera

09:00 – 11:10 grounds of temple, Kuramadera

11:10 – 13:00 museum stop on Kuramadera cable car

13:00 – 18:00 Eizan railway from Kurmadera to Demachiyanagi station, Kyoto

17:45 – 19:45 end of rain shower on vast corrugated iron roof of factory, Kitaoji, Kyoto

19:30 – 20:30 grounds of Honen-in temple, Kyoto

20:30 – 21:30 music during Shinto festival day, Kamomioya-jinja Shrine, Kyoto

21:20 – 25:10 crowd watching horseback archery competition, Kamomioya-jinja shrine

25:00 – 26:30 birds in bamboo, grounds of Daitoku-ji temple complex, Kyoto

26:25 – 28:20 on a punt on the Katsura river, Arashiyama, Kyoto

28:20 – 32:40 riding the Randen railcar between Arashiyama and Ryoani-ji, Kyoto

32:40 – 34:20 frogs in rice paddy surrounding airb&b, Higashi-Hiroshima

34:10 – 37:30 people ringing the Peace Bell in Hiroshima Memorial Peace Park, Hiroshima

37:30 – 40:20 mid-morning ambience of forest on hill behind airb&b, Higashi-Hiroshima

40:20 – 40:55 pilgrims chanting Heart Sutra, vehicles passing, Karato port, Teshima

43:50 – 55:45 7 May 2018, afternoon showers, interior of Teshima Art Museum, Teshima