Keiichiro Shibuya Solo Piano Concert

Date(s) : May 12 (Saturday), 2012

Time : Door opens at: 17:30 / Starts at: 19:00 / Ends at: 20:30

For one evening only, the Hara Museum held a piano and computer concert by Keiichiro Shibuya, who composed music for the documentary movie Memories of Origin Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Since founding the music label ATAK in 2002, Keiichiro Shibuya has explored the relationship between technology and music with dedicated focus, becoming the most talked-about musician active today. His work spans a wide spectrum of musical genres—from electronic music utilizing computer technology to simple, beautiful piano solos and pop music. He continues to actively expand into new areas, such as music for movies and television, live performances and participation at major music festivals throughout the world.

In addition, he created the sound installation “filmachine” at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) in 2006. He released the CD version “ATAK010 filmachine phonics Keiichiro Shibuya” in 2007, the world’s first 3-D CD designed for headphone listening which earned him a honorary mention in the digital music division of Austria’s Ars Electronica in the same year. In this and other experimental efforts that push the musical envelope, he has received high critical praise.

The centerpiece of the concert was music from “ATAK018 Soundtrack for Memories of Origin Hiroshi Sugimoto,” Shibuya’s album in which he explores the possibilities of the piano. Composition, performance and recording were all done by the artist himself.


It was 7:00 pm on the evening of May 12. Outside in the museum garden, the notes of a grand piano drifted upward towards a pitch-black sky, mingling with the wind as the tree leaves rustled and the crows flew. In the distance could be heard the sound of passing trains and a bustling city. Sitting on the grass, surrounding the piano, the audience huddled, seeking warmth under coats and blankets in the 13-degree air. Above them the North Star twinkled.

Held at the Hara Museum at the same time as the exhibition Hiroshi Sugimoto: From naked to clothed, the concert drew mainly from Keiichiro Shibuya´s new album ATAK018 Soundtrack for Memories of Origin Hiroshi Sugimoto, the soundtrack for the documentary Memories of Origins Hiroshi Sugimoto, then being shown at Theater Image Forum. All the tracks for this album, which explores new possibilities for the piano, were composed, performed and recorded by Shibuya.

Shibuya said the following about ATAK018:

″My favorite work by Hiroshi Sugimoto is his Architecture series. It´s really up to the photographer how sharp he captures the subject. For this series, Sugimoto went in the opposite direction of sharpness. That is, by making the image fuzzy on purpose, he draws out the essence of subject. When I was first approached to do the project, I thought I would like to attempt the same thing on the piano. ″
″By continuously pressing a key on the piano, the note eventually becomes harmonized, no matter how dissonant it may be. By inputting an increasing number of fuzzily tuned notes into the computer, I was able to create a work consisting solely of sounds that are the essence of the piano, cutting out the parts that evoke actual key strokes.″

What seemed to be a contiguous series of notes consisted in fact of notes played at different times and later edited together. Superimposed in real time over solo pieces that Shibuya played on the piano were data from the ATAK018 CD. Shibuya would either synchronize with or delay the timing of his piano playing in response to the sounds he heard or the waveform that he saw on a MacBook. In addition to this was noise produced randomly by a program and output from the six speakers. All of these elements, mixed together with the ambient sounds of the environment, produced the totality that was Shibuya´s performance.

According to the artist, who turned 39 on the day of the concert: ″Whenever I play the piano within a hall, I am very conscious of the intervals (ma) and silences between notes. I listen to the notes that reflect off the walls and ceiling as I am playing. This time, in the garden, the high notes were absorbed completely into the sky above. I was listening to them disappearing as I was playing. It was the first time for me to experience this and it has given me inspiration for future works.″

In addition to Lightning Fields2/W.H.F Talbot Appropriate Proportion Life from Memories of Origins Hiroshi Sugimoto, the evening´s program included Shibuya’s latest tracks written for other movies such as Sacrifice from Seiji ″Fish on Land,″ the main theme from TBS drama SPEC, and Bach and Handel´s Largo from Confessions. According to some members of the audience, the tracks brought to mind images from the various films.

We would like to thank Yuko Nakagawa (director of Memories of Origin Hiroshi Sugimoto), who made it possible to hold this concert, and to Mr. zAk for his great help with the sound. But most of all, our thanks go out to everyone who braved the winter-like cold to gather and experience the evening together.

Musician. Born in Tokyo 1973. Graduated with a degree in composition from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. In 2002, established the music label ATAK, releasing CDs of domestic and overseas cutting-edge electro-accoustic works, including such representative works as “ATAK000+” and “ATAK010 filmachine phonics.” In 2009, he released his first solo piano album, “ATAK015 for maria.” In 2010, he released “Our Music The Principle Of Relativity + Keiichiro Shibuya .” This was followed by a succession of musical scores for movies and television, including the TBS drama “Spec,” the Shusaku Arakawa documentary “Children Who Won’t Die,” and the movies “Seiji Riku no Sakana” and “Memories of Origin Hiroshi Sugimoto,” both of which were screened in 2012. In 2012, he released his first single, “Sacficie Keiichiro Shibuya feat. Rina Ohta” His activities continue to expand into a variety of areas that include concerts and large-scale multi-channel sound installations in Japan and abroad.

Organized by

Hara Museum of Contemporary Art

Cooperation provided by

SHOUT inc.