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Detailed and hilarious interiew with Tori availiable here on Noise.com. Questions by Shinji Shibayama and Ikuro Takahashi & G-Modern. Translated by Alan Cummings.
Reiko Kudo's solo work, with Tori on piano. Short songs capture vivid moments of detail in Reiko's life - her cats, her mother, the dying plant on the windowsill. Melodies so simple and unforced, it's as if they came gently floating through her window in the nightime. Peaceful and utterly gorgeous, like a child's book of psalms.
"when I sing I’m a like a bug before the setting sun" - Reiko Kudo
Reiko Kudo / vocals
Tori Kudo / piano
Recorded on 7th of November 2009 by John Chantler. Mixed and mastered by John Chantler. Photograph by Marie Roux.
Cover design by Oli Barrett
Reiko and Tori Kudo – 7.11.09
A feature length film, directed by Tori Kudo (Mahar Shalal Hash Baz)
This film is made by digital images from the early 00s to 2019, when I started taking pictures with cellular phones. You can see that upgrades in resolution have drastically changed "l'imaginaire" , as we move to smartphones. Most of the images are taken by myself, but my portraits are taken by others. I can't name all of them exactly. But if I had to name who, among them, are working as photographers in their honor, it would be Seiichi Sugita and Maki Abe.- Tori Kudo
The cover of this release was selected from one of six images sent to us by Tori of a sculpture incorporating layered photographs made by his mother. Tori wrote to us saying:
"These six photographs are almost like my mother’s posthumous work. The photographs show a Mobius ring of sheet iron onto which she sticked old photographs on top of each other. My mother’s father, my grandfather, was a painter who lived in Paris before the war. His style of painting was that he would layer paint very thickly. Georges Rouault scraped off layers of paint so he could create flat paintings. My grandfather’s paintings have 1cm thickness but they seemed more like 3D works rather than the perspective paintings. My mother piles up photographs on top of each other. So in a way her style resembles my grandfather’s technique from that point of view. It is quite interesting that I was doing something similar to my mother with the film I made for TakuRoku during lockdown. However in my case I displayed my photos side by side not on top of each other. All is shown, no layering, nothing hidden underneath. It may mean that I still have an attachment to this life. Archiving seems to be a theme of this time. The thing is what do we archive from history. “You could see the movement of power in the erased history “- I think Jacques Derrida was talking about something like that… Freud on the other hand, hated the idea of archiving…he said “it’s the end of one’s life once one started making their own autobiographical anthology.. that kind of wrapping up one’s life while you are still alive.” Yet recently I had an idea of looking into archiving from the perspective of a dead person looking back at their life. And this could fit into this time of pandemic as everyone is facing more or less this issue so I made this film. The first half of this year since the lock down I had done nothing as I received a state grant but the offer from TakuRoku label encouraged me to finish this work. It has been a good practice for me." --
Tori Kudo - film & direction
-- Kota Takeuchi - Font for the title at the endhttp://kota-takeuchi.net/
Tori Kudo - The song "archive" that plays in the end roll. Recorded in March 2020. Oliver Barrett - artwork design
Tori Kudo – Archive
"The first collaboration between DJ/mixtape-compiler Kayo Makino and underground legend Tori Kudo. Originally created to be played between acts at the launch of Eiko Ishibashi‘s acclaimed The Dreams My Bones Dream (2018) and then reworked and refined for LP release, the two side-long pieces are sonic environments constructed by Makino for Kudo’s piano to inhabit, or, as the LP’s credits suggest, a “cinéma pour l’oreille” in which Kudo’s piano plays the starring role.
Beginning with a soothing field recording of crickets dramatically punctuated by smashing glass, the first side finds Kudo playing his way repeatedly through one of Satie‘s 1897 Pièces froides. Best known to many listeners for his role as leader of the ecstatically shambolic rock unit Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Kudo’s performance of Satie’s whimsical yet haunting melody is alternately halting and fluid, delighting in the hesitations of unstudied technique and the subtle variations between repeated attempts. While the combination of Kudo’s piano and the background of crickets initially suggests a documentary approach to recording — as if the you are simply hearing incidental sounds creeping through an open window — things take an unexpected turn a few minutes in when Kudo’s piano is suddenly doubled. Layering two separate attempts at the same piece of top of each other, Makino’s unorthodox mixing blurs Satie’s original into a fog of stumbling echoes that becomes increasingly dreamlike as the chirping crickets are overtaken by pattering rain, German dialogue and traffic sounds.
The second side begins in a similarly inscrutable vein, with snatches of birds and film music providing a gentle backdrop for Kudo’s improvisational variations on a chord progression that, as his performance builds over its twenty-minute duration, somehow begins to suggest the sadly swaggering grandeur of Mick Taylor-era Rolling Stones. Makino accompanies and eventually overwhelms Kudo’s piano with a bizarre layer of digitally processed voice and drums, stretched out into a disorienting haze before suddenly retreating to leave Kudo’s piano accompanied only by a barking dog. Seemingly unrelated to anything else being produced in the world of contemporary music, this is a striking collaboration between two unique musical personalities that bridges the mundane and the surreal, opening up a dream-space both haunted and hospitable."
Cover design by Lasse Marhaug. Mastered by Jim O’Rourke at Steamroom, Japan. Vinyl cut by Rashed Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
Kayo Makino & Tori Kudo – Ein Traum Für Dich
A poem; a mumbled refrain; a vocal track; a vignette of a song; a plonk on a piano and guitar; a rattle on the drums. The ingredients in Tori Kudo's new release Takuroku might be familiar to fans of his ramshackle solo work and in Maher Shalal Hash Baz, but the way he scatters them, lays them out, collages them and puts them together is anything but. This is Tori at his most experimental, but also most revealing; bringing us close, breathing in our ear, showing us glimmers and multiple exposures of his life and letting us pick up the pieces.
Tori has kindly shared with us the lyrics to Track 1 below, both in English and Japanese.
Biopolitical meetings of
Flowers and spring breeze
The flag is about to fall on the base of the ridge
Grabbed a bunch of hair
Pass between heaven and earth
Shown another artificial meat
A pillar that stirs jealousy
You can't stand on the foundation of *Waka
The design is endless, so run, the truth
Get off at Mt. Shoji using the elevator inside
Decide whether to climb in pairs or not
Don't show off if you crush the viper
Get off the elevator inside
*Waka is a type of poetry in classic Japanese literature
Mastered by and Cover design by Oli Barrett
Tori Kudo – Solo