First broadcast date: 5 November 2018
Mari* is Worldwide FM’s senior producer and Gilles Peterson’s longtime radio collaborator, and every 2 months presents two hours introducing a new wave of artists and music coming out of Japan with her Oto Nova show.
In this episode Mari* is joined by Masayoshi Fujita, Berlin-based composer and vibraphonist, and Miho Hatori, NYC’s rare and inimitable talent New Optimism (aka Japanese musician Miho Hatori, co-founder of the beloved Cibo Matto and a collaborative partner of Gorillaz, The Beastie Boys, John Zorn etc).
Japan-born, New York-based artist, vocalist and producer Miho Hatori has 3 new different projects, New Optimism, Miss Information, Mondialité. She has contributed on the first Gorillaz album, as well as songs with the Beastie Boys. Miho’s newest project New Optimism is a vivid, unpredictable and technicolour sonic palette that shapeshifts mercurially around grooving basslines, subtle electronica, leftfield sound explorations and playful experimental pop. The debut EP “Amazon To LeFrak” through Phantom Limb. Also, the debut LP of her another project Miss Information “Sequence” has been released in October from collective art centre, Pioneer Works.
“I started this project (Miss Information) from the concept, “what if information was woman?”. I was also thinking about the history of the silk road and how information traveled during then. Theme song is about the goddess of information that ended up in Los Angeles, having a plastic surgery. “ – Miho Hatori
Berlin-based composer and vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita has previously released two albums under his alias El Fog that touched on the vibraphone but appeared mostly in a supporting role, accompanying his intricate electronic production. Much like his instrument, he has often been a collaborator as opposed to a front man — his sympathetic musicianship complimenting a variety of creative outputs.
Most frequently with the adventurous German producer Jan Jelinek. Their most recent offering Schaum displays a dialogue between the two that makes it hard to tell just where Fujita’s vibraphone ends and Jelinek’s whirring loops begin.
His new album “Book of Life” is the third instalment in a trilogy of solo vibraphone recordings out via Erased Tapes. With Book of Life Masayoshi continues his mission in bringing the vibraphone — a relatively new invention in the history of instruments often kept in the background in orchestras and jazz outfits — into the spotlight. Having trained as a drummer, Masayoshi began experimenting with the vibraphone, preparing its bars with kitchen foil or beads, playing it with the cello bow such as in Fog or using the other end of the mallets to create a more ambient texture of sound, as with the title track.
Focusing on the vibraphone in this way sets Masayoshi apart, dedicating his artistic life to celebrating this fascinating and often under appreciated instrument and making his take on ambient and modern compositional styles a unique one.
“I think the vibraphone is capable of more interesting and beautiful sounds that haven’t been heard before. It’s quite a new instrument but it’s often played in a similar way. I feel that there is a lot more to explore with this exciting instrument.” – Masayoshi Fujita