Almost completely unknown in the west, Masahiro Sugaya has been composing and producing music since the 1980s in an exceptionally wide range of fields and practices. From arrangements for musical acts like the acoustic guitar duo Gontiti to acousmatic diffusion at spaces like Paris’s Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM), Sugaya’s reach is almost exhaustive in its breadth, but it was in the 80s bubble-era kankyō ongaku scene that he first found his musical voice. Curated by Visible Cloaks' Spencer Doran and Maxwell August Croy for their Empire of Signs label, Horizon, Vol. 1 collected several recordings from this period. (with thanks to Empire of Signs)
The name of the piece, Au. Pt. C. comes from one of my interests. I have been thinking about the inexplicability of the thing called value. Gold, platinum and diamonds have already been in the ground just under our feet for a long time. The sound I collected in the field is the same as them, too. I just refine the sound into worthwhile pieces. To be honest, all of these things are in hindsight. In 2012, when I was working on the piece, there were many shops in Tokyo that said "We buy gold, platinum and diamonds," after the nuclear disaster, and the sound that was played on a loop from those shops was annoying. I just parodied it.
Au. Pt. C. is a piece made for 8ch speakers system. Therefore, the stereo version of it is, so to say, like a pressed flower. It still has width, but loses depth. This piece contains many words as a soundscape. They always fill our city in Japan. For example, a child shouting "Helicopter!", an advertisement announcing the start of sales of Windows 8 OS, fragments of speech from a rally against nuclear power plant, and so on. Of course, it could be helpful to understand the work if you could understand what they saying. I agree with that idea for a moment, but then I think again. Then, I find that it need not be so. People are shouting something, and that is enough for me. The important thing for me is that we have unclear meanings, and each of us can imagine all sorts of things.
We cannot help but have some images in our mind which respond to our surroundings. It could be human nature. Then again we cannot help but trying to find some meanings of the images. It could be human nature, too.
Sitting in front of speakers and listening only to sounds extracted from our surroundings is a human experience that has become possible. When we listen only to the sound, again, we can not help but having some images and trying to find some meanings of them.
I am interested in unclear image. I am interested in unclear meaning, too.
This has become one of the most important albums of my life. It’s essence is indescribable. Every sound from the start of the record through the end is placed delicately and with care. The album cover is by Julie Mehretu. It’s absolutely an incredible release for which I shall be eternally grateful. Aniket