Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s
Presented by Blum & Poe and Black Editions
Zebulon, Los Angeles
Sunday, April 7, 2019
Keiji Haino is one of the key figures to emerge from the world of Japanese underground and avant-garde music in the last 50 years. Over his lifetime, Haino has created an unparalleled body of work that includes hundreds of recorded releases and innumerable performances around the world. Haino first gained notoriety during the era of Japanese radicalism and counterculture. His 1971 performance with his group Lost Aaraaff is said to have incited a riot at the historic Genyasai Music Festival, held in opposition to the seizure of farm lands for the construction of Narita Airport. Later, NHK, Japan's national broadcaster, banned his music from 1973 to 2013. His haunting debut album "Watashi Dake?" was released in 1981 and marked a watershed moment in Japanese outsider music. His later releases with the P.S.F. label helped bring his music to the wider world stage.
Through his solo work, his numerous collaborations and perhaps most notably his group Fushitsusha, Haino is renowned for his intensely personal, cathartic musical language. His work remains unmistakable even as he has explored a wide range of musical approaches including rock, vocal, free jazz, free improvisation, percussion, psychedelia, minimalism, folk and live DJ mixing. He has cited a broad range of influences, including troubadour music, Iannis Xenakis, Blue Cheer, Syd Barrett, Charlie Parker and Albert Ayler. Accordingly, he has collaborated with musicians including Faust, Boris, Derek Bailey, Peter Brötzmann, Lee Konitz, Loren Connors, Bill Laswell, Merzbow, Jim O'Rourke, John Zorn, EYE, Fred Frith, and Charles Hayward.
While his primary instruments have been voice and guitar, Haino's dedication to the hurdy-gurdy has yielded some of the most unique and enchanting music of his career. A rare medieval instrument, it features a hand crank-turned, rosined wheel rubbing against strings to create rich layers of drone harmonics. His performance at Zebulon on April 7th promises to be historic as it will only be his second ever U.S. hurdy-gurdy performance, the first in over 20 years.