Starting in 2015, Japan Sound Portrait began with Nick Luscombe's realisation that on his frequent trips to Japan he increasingly found himself recording sounds rather than taking pictures of the inspiring things he was encountering. Visual images of Japan have settled into a fairly fixed representation, but what new 'picture' might emerge if one were to start 'looking' at the country from the starting point of sound? We are pursuing this idea through a number of different forms, with rewarding and surprising results, eager to share our discoveries as the gaze of the world turns towards Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Nick Luscombe is a London based radio broadcaster for BBC Radio 3, DJ, music and playlist curator and live event and radio producer. He has worked in senior music editorial roles at iTunes and Google Play and held the position of Director of Music at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA). He is the founder of Musicity, an international digital and live event platform that explores the intersection of music and architecture.
Neil Cantwell is Co-Director/Co-Producer of the film KanZeOn. He has previously worked as Programme Officer for Japanese Studies and Intellectual Exchange at the Japan Foundation London Office, as well as holding the position of Foreign Research Fellow at Shuchiin University in Kyoto. Neil continues to perform, record and write music across a range of instruments.
The Sound Preservation Society, by Laurent Fintoni, for Red Bull Amaphiko describes the project from the point of view of Japanese participants who have contributed by sending in their favourite sounds.
This article for The Japan Times by James Hadfield explores the project's growth out of the film KanZeOn - it was following the film's London premiere at the ICA that Nick and Neil first met to begin working on Japan Sound Portrait.