Idobata Kaigi with Taku Sugimoto and Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble

Idobata Kaigi is a term for “chit-chat” or conversation, derived from an old Japanese custom of neighbouring women making fun of people and spreading rumours while getting water and washing around the well (Idobata). Nowadays, the word is used for an idle chat between groups of people. These foolish chats often carry important messages and reveal people’s true selves. Thoughts and messages arise unexpectedly in the most relaxed environment.

I met many musicians and composers in Tokyo during my stay in Japan at the end of 2016: Taku Sugimoto, Unami Taku, Toshimaru Nakamura, Takahiro Kawaguchi, Junji Hirose, Suzueri, and Oshiro Makoto to name a few. These artists collaborate; their individual activities imbricated. As a result, Tokyo glows with a flourishing effervescence, one of the most enriched places. Private CD shops, venues, and independent galleries are scattered around, presenting emerging works and supporting upcoming artists. There are constantly art and music events to participate in. The city is chaotic but is still ordered, to a large extent, according to traditions. Old houses stand apologetically between all-electric mansions and super high-tech skyscrapers. Walking merely several roads away could take you to totally different sceneries.

                 walking along a small path in Tokyo with the ensemble members.

Despite different music genres, everyone seems to help each other in the Tokyo experimental music scene.  At least, that’s how it looks to me—their operation system is genre-free. An interesting work is an interesting work, that’s all. Taku Sugimoto is no exception. He is a guitarist in a rock band one day and a minimal music composer the next. He leads the Experimental Music Workshop that studies experimental scores and supports Wakana Ikeda in maintaining Suidobashi Chamber Ensemble that continues score-orientated events. He is very active, but deliberately keeps a low-profile—a trait I deeply respect.

 

He listens and, as an artist, produces serene listening experiences. A noise musician once stated that silence can be as violent as the loudest noise. A different media artist has said that there is a way to create ultimate silence out of elements that are not silent. The following conversation shows how Taku Sugimoto’s life intersects with his minimalistic composition and performance.