Tetsu Inoue: active / freeze Interview

tetsu.jpg (22k) Ranked with the masters since his early Fax recordings, Testsu has most recently collaborated with Taylor Deupree, just releasing their DSP breakdown, active / freeze. My thanks to Tetsu for joining in (with the first AmbiEntrance Phone Interview) and for submitting his photo.

AmbiEntrance: Your older material often seems more "peaceful" while your newer work is more "chaotic"... How would you describe the evolution of your music?

Inoue: I was doing such a direction, like landscapes, for such a long time. I beacame kind of bored by it. The new music uses more of a "hard cut" style... not body music, but more active-listening, more intellectual.

AmbiEntrance: Where do you think your sound might be heading in future explorations?

Inoue: Now I'm starting to get bored with "computer music"... I'm constantly searching for new sounds. I'd like to mix everything together.

AmbiEntrance: Will you ever return to "plain old" ambient, or trance music?

Inoue: No... I don't think I'll do 4/4 trance again, but AUDIO ( 2000 may FAX record ) was more like "plain old" ambient. The word "ambient" has a deep meaning to me. I will try to keep interpreting it.

AmbiEntrance: Do you think about your audience when you're making music?

Inoue: When I'm making music, I don't think about any audience... it's to me more like a personal diary. It comes more naturally if I don't worry about the listener. That wouldn't work for me.

AmbiEntrance: How did you get to be involved with Taylor Deupree?

Inoue: When I was living in New York, we always talked about making a record together, for the past four or five years. I love his 12k stuff, especially 0/r (by nosei sakata and richard chartier) was shocking to me. 0/r was pretty much outstanding... more like music for paintings or installations; it's not simply minimal.

AmbiEntrance: Did you ever physcially work *together* on this project or was everything done separately?

Inoue: We send sounds back and forth. then I did the mix in my studio.

AmbiEntrance: What about the 2-part track titles?

Inoue: That was Taylor's idea. The idea of active / freeze, he came up with it. We made the music, then we put the type in.

AmbiEntrance: Taylor usually limits his releases to 500, but active / freeze was output to 1000 CDs; he must be pretty optimistic... how about you?

Inoue: I feel the same way. I think 1000 is a good number. I usually sell more than 1,000 CDs.

AmbiEntrance: How would you explain active / freeze to someone who's listened, but just doesn't "get it"?

Inoue: I think people who don't understand that direction should put their CD player in loop mode like background music - like a painting - and listen over and over... then see what that space does. For something as active / freeze, people need a different state of mind. This direction is more like a sculpture on the wall, not direct. Every time you listen, you get a different feeling.

AmbiEntrance: Are you creating all your sounds digitally these days?

Inoue: For active / freeze I did, because I didn't want to go to another mixing board, so I created it digitally on the computer.

AmbiEntrance: Didn't you start out playing guitar? Will you ever do pop/rock professionally?

Inoue: Yes... more like a japanese Pop direction. Sometimes i play midiguitar (as in DSP Holiday). I play more structured, more song-oriented.

Me and Atom Heart are talking about going in that direction, making a recording, but it's still in the planning. I'm moving back to New York in August (from San Francisco) and will be closer so we can work.

AmbiEntrance: I haven't heard any of your recent work on John Zorn's label... how would you describe that material?

Inoue: It's more active listening... even more cut up, more experimental, but I put in some melody.

It's a great avant garde label because you can't categorize the direction; that's why I like it.

AmbiEntrance: Any future projects (solo or collaborations) you can tell us about?

Inoue: My solo music when I get back to New York will be a mixing of everything, not just software music.

AmbiEntrance: What do you do when you're not making music?

Inoue: I usually go hiking and things like that... walking in the woods or on the beach. In New York I usually go to the museum or gallery.

AmbiEntrance: In closing, I want to ask about a few of your past releases (which I'm also Overviewing this month)...

Slow and Low... what can you tell us about the making of that disc?

Inoue: Slow and Low was my transition time when I was getting away from ambient, more into music concrete, John Cage, that direction. I felt right about doing that, even if Peter (Namlook) didn't understand. It wasn't his style, but he trusted my taste.

AmbiEntrance: What about the dance/trance sounds of Om "Instant Enlightenment"?

Inoue: Om was a result of my time in India, my interpretation of actual trance music.

AmbiEntrance: Electro Harmonix? How was working with Jonah Sharp? Whose idea was the 47-minute "Morphing Cloud"?

Inoue: It was more like a journey. We sat in the studio just working from scratch. I think we did the whole thing in one day. "Morphing Cloud" was 45 minutes?! Wow, that's surprising... it's strange to realize I ever did such a long track. Now, I usually do shorter pieces, three and four minutes.

AmbiEntrance: Can you explain the term "Otaku" for those who may not be familiar?

Inoue: "Otaku" is kind of a nerd, a collector. In Japan, it's used as a negative term.

AmbiEntrance: Did you "plan" for Ambiant Otakuto become such a rarity?

Inoue: No, I didn't. I don't believe in "limited release".

AmbiEntrance: Did you have anything to do with its re-release?

Inoue: No, I'm not to do with the re-release. Peter was mentioning about people paying 100 dollars for a disc and it was really ridiculuous. Many people asked, so he decided to release it again.

What I don't understand is when people still want me to make music like that.

I usually make music which I hear in my head, right now I don't hear Ambiant Otaku 2... maybe in the future.

This interview posted July 29, 2000 | Interview Index

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