Taku Sugimoto
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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Japanese guitar improvisor Taku Sugimoto (1965) debuted as the leader of acid-rockers Piero Manzoni. When they disbanded, he released his first solo mini-album, the live Mienai Tenshi (february 1988), still influenced by psychedelic music.

In 1991 he switched to the cello and formed the trio Henkyo Gakudan with ia saxophonist and a guitarist. Unaccompanied Violoncello Solo (may 1994 - Slub, 1994) was his solo cello debut.

He then returned to the guitar in a guitar duo with Tetuzi Akiyama that released Listener's Digest (Slub, 1995) and The Logic of Exception (Slub, 1996). The duo also recorded The Improvisation Meeting at Bar Aoyama (july 1999 - Reset, 1999), Meeting at Off Site Vol. 1 (Reset, 2002) and Meeting at Off Site Vol. 2 (may 2002 - IMJ, 2003) with Toshimaru Nakamura, Mongoose At Penguin House (february 1999 - Slub, 1999) with electronic keyboardist Utah Kawasaki, Hokou (april 1999 - Corpus Hermeticum, 2001) with Bo Wiget, Foldings (january 2002 - Confront, 2003) with Toshimaru Nakamura and Mark Wastell,

Other solo recordings: Myshkin Musicu for Electric Guitar (Slub, 1996), Fragments of Paradise (june 1997 - Test, 1997), one of his best, Opposite (april 1997 - Hat Hut, 1998), 20 brief vignettes, perhaps the most "romantic" in its use of the aesthetics of silence, the four live performances of Tori (march 2001 - Off Site, 2001), and the three live performances of Italia (november 2000 - A Bruit Secret, 2001).

Other collaborations include: Duo (april 1998 - Meme, 1998) and the live Den (april 2000 - Sonoris, 2000) with Kevin Drumm, Metal Tastes Like Orange (june 1999 - Secret Recordings, 1999) with Otomo Yoshihide, Guenter Mueller and Masahiko Okura, The World Turned Upside Down (october 1999 - Erstwhile, 2000) with Keith Rowe and Guenter Mueller, A Duo in Berlin (may 2000 - Slub, 2000) and Eine Gitarre Ist Eine Gitarrre (november 2001 - Rossbin, 2002) with Annette Krebs, I Am Happy If You Are Happy (october 1999 - For 4 Ears, 2000) with Guenter Mueller, In Tokyo First Concert Second Take (april 2001 - Musica Genera, 2002) with Burkhard Stangl and Christof Kurzmann, Deluxe Nakamura (july 2001 - Sparkling Beatnik, 2002) with Brett Larner, An Old Fashioned Duet (november 2001 - Slub, 2002) with Burkhard Stangl, Les Hautes Solitudes (march 2002 - Imaginarry Soundtrack, 2002) with Otomo Yoshihide and Sachiko M, Ajar (recorded in 1999 - Alcohol, 2002) with Otomo Yoshihide and Keith Rowe (a guitar trio of sort), Home (october 2000 - Gross, 2002), with bassist Werner Dafeldecker and guitarists Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl, Trio at Off Site (september 2001 - Hibari Music, 2002) with Taku Unami and Masafumi Ezaki, the double-disc Futatsu (july 2003 - IMJ, 2003) with Raku Sugifatti (Austrian trombonist Radu Malfatti and Sugimoto), a Cage-an (and hyper-indulgent) take on minimalism (lengthy periods of silence interrupted by brief noises), Compositions for Guitars (april 2003 - A Bruit Secret, 2003) with Brett Larner and Burkhard Stangl, and the live Guitar Quartet (september 2002 - Bottrop-Boy, 2003) with Toshimaru Nakamura, Tetuzi Akiyama, and Otomo Yoshihide.

Chamber Music (Bottrop-Boy, 2003) collects the Sonata for Violin and Piano (march 2003) and the Music for Violin, Cello and Piano (may 2003), two austere compositions that mix western timbric exploration and eastern rarefied meditation. Sugimoto's music is based around silence, not sound, and thus each piece is an incredibly slow and sparse flow of tones. Silence definitely prevails over sound. In a sense, these are pauses interrupted by sounds, rather than sounds with long pauses.

Music For Cymbals (month? 2004 - Cut, 2005) collects radical pieces of unpredictable development and dynamics. Principia Sugimatica (november 2004 - A Bruit Secret, 2005) is an essay in mathematics, not music.

The double-disc Live in Australia (september 2003 - Improvised Music from Japan, 2005) collects two colossal improvisations recorded in 2003: the 72-minute Dot and the 62-minute Music for Amplified Guitar. These are typical of his technique of letting background noise take center stage, his guitar occasionally interrupting the coughing, the footsteps and the raindrops with a distant strum. The guitarist seems to meditate on the sounds that he hears, and only every now and then does he emit a sign of life.

Live In Kansai (september 2006) returned Sugimoto to his solipsistic and subliminal ruminations.

Guitar Duo (2007) was a collaboration with guitarist Taku Unami.

Eine Gitarre Ist Eine Gitarre Ist Keine Gitarre Ist Eine Gitarre (Slub Music, 2002) was another collaboration with German guitarist Annette Krebs.

Doremilogy (july 2007), Three Speakers (april 2008), Musical Composition Series 1 and 2 collect various compositions for different lineups, the latter including his String Quartet and Guitar (2010). The 62-minute Shiisanputou was performed by drummer Itoken in march 2008.

Quartet (2004) contains Taku Sugimoto's Music For 4 Stringed Instruments (33:13), which ranks with his best, Nikos Veliotis' Aceghd (20:23) and a collective Improvisation (20:22) by Nikos Veliotis, Taku Sugimoto, Kazushige Kinoshita & Taku Unami.

Quartet/Octet (october 2013) collects two neoclassical compositions, especially the 32-minute Octet for cello, clarinet, trombone, sho, vocals and electronics.

Taku Sugimoto/Manfred Werder (october 2014) documents a live performance with a Swiss pianist.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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