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Best of 2018

Great White Light

Great White Light 1971 (Lp)


**Great White Light is a spellbinding archival discovery documenting a 1971 performance by one of the missing links in experimental electronic and sound art figure: Seiji Onishi. Onishi was one of the background players in the formative Japanese electronic music scene of the early 1970's, and this LP  documents a section of recording which captured the performance held at the Kishi Memorial Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo, on February 13, 1971 with Taj Mahal Travellers members as guest performers. It's totally ghostly and hypnotic, with an understandable amount of tape hiss and warble which only adds to the enigmatic atmosphere. Housed in thick triple-fold cover, edition of 300 copies only** Great White Light organized by Seiji Onishi, Kazuo Kawasumi, Mitsuyoshi Shioya, Goji Hamada performed at the Kishi Memorial Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo, on February 13, 1971. Ten years after the performance, Onishi released a recording of it in LP format as an appendix to his collection “The Works of Seiji Onishi 1966 - 1981”, hereinafter referred to as “Works”). Given that “Works” was published in a small edition, and Onishi moved to Belgium soon after, it was difficult to get our hands around this documentation of the use of sound in the Japanese art of the 1970s. A reissue of this recording is Japanese Art Sound Archive’s 1st LP release.

Great White Light was full of noises created by the wind from the air blowers hitting the microphones. The artists stood in the center of the venue surrounded by the devices: six loudspeakers and air blowers, all facing outward, with a fixed microphone in front of the air outlet of each blower. Seats for the audience surrounded the circle, and a beam projector was set next to the wall. During the performance, Onishi operated the transformers of the blowers, and Shioya the lighting. Hamada performed his “action voice” with four microphones. No record was found concerning the role of Kawasumi, but he might have been in charge of manipulating the PA systems. In addition to this setup, Taj Mahal Travellers joined as a guest performer. Initially, they had planned to perform only with the blowers and voice, but just before the concert, they got suddenly overtaken by pre-performance anxiety a nd decided to invite the guests.

File under: Performance Art
Cat. number: OPS-001
Year: 2018
Side B label states: “This is the LP disc recorded a part of 4 and a half hour performance” Limited edition of 300

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