Shohei Amimori started his career as a composer and arranger of both classical and contemporary music when he was still a student. His orchestral graduation work was so appreciated that Tokyo University of Arts decided to purchase it and preserve it permanently at the university’s art museum. After his initial stylistic fields, his interest gradually moved to different forms of sound art and pop music, and he also began to produce music for commercials and television programs. His output on Noble Records (released at the end of November 2018) partially mirrors this path, but also embraced the bizarre concept of pataphysics that French writer Alfred Jarry defined as “the science of that which is super induced upon metaphysics, whether within or beyond the latter’s limitations, extending as far beyond metaphysics as the latter extends beyond physics.” It’s a sort of parody (quoted by many musicians in the past including the Beatles, Soft Machine and the awesome Japanese band Acid Mothers Temple) that Shohei tried to apply to his music generation according to a derivative process and the bold hypothesis that “music does not yet exist ≈ imaginary music ≈ PATA MUSIC.” We had a quick chat with Shohei about this concept that we invite you to explore by checking out his nice album.
Chain DLK: Hi, Shoei! How are you?
Shoei Amimori: I’m good.
Chain DLK: What is PataMusic in your own explanatory words?
Shoei Amimori: For me, ”PataMusic” is an issue for the existence of music by using pop music.
Chain DLK: Any conceptual connection with the notorious Jarry’s Pataphysics? Do you feel like a Dr. Faustroll for music? 🙂
Shoei Amimori: Of course I was inspired by the Pataphysics that Jari advocated. However, rather than using it as a concept, the issue I was thinking about at the beginning was Pataphysics.
Chain DLK: How many possible approaches do you take into consideration to inject abstractness into music? What’s your favourite one?
Shoei Amimori: Today, I think that with the way of listening to music, the power of the album package has been disabled. So, I did something to highlight the contradiction of the package form itself. For example, if you move on to the next song, the previous song will be seriously ruined. I set up such an element. Bringing abstraction into music, making it stand out and sharing it, is always a big goal for me. But that’s very difficult.
Chain DLK: Can you provide some commentary on the tracks of PataMusic? Any hidden story behind it that you want to share with our readers?
Shoei Amimori: Anyway, there were many kinds of songs and it was difficult. I’m not a singer but there are some songs where I’m singing, some songs like “Climb Downhill 1” that require elaborate post production on a computer, and so on. I made full use of the right and left brain poles. However, in order to raise the above-mentioned issue, there had to be many kinds of songs.
Chain DLK: You have a relevant academic background…is there any composer you studied that paved the way to PataMusic? If so, how?
Shoei Amimori: I have always given respect to and credited some critical aspects to John Cage. Cage had valued the ‘‘sound’’ and ‘‘listening.’’ I would like to draw out the power of such elements without making them mysterious.
Chain DLK: Some tracks sounds like mirroring TV commercials…any jingle that became like a recurring nightmare during composition or over your career?
Shoei Amimori: For me, the most interesting element of music is melody. The reason is that it is difficult to create or listen from a quantitative point of view like harmony or rhythm. Nevertheless, it can be addictive to listeners. That may be why it sounds like TVCM.
Chain DLK: Many moments of PataMusic resemble the amazing experiments by other great Japanese composers, who became famous out of national boundaries, like Haruomi Hosono or Nobukazu Takemura…do you feel closer to some of them, by chance?
Shoei Amimori: As you say, my work may resemble their works in some ways. I’m intending to look over the music all over the world in the same way as them, but that may be just “Japanese.”
Chain DLK: Are there any connections of PataMusic with your previous outputs? Can you talk about your more or less recent past releases?
Shoei Amimori: Last year, we presented an orchestral piece of contemporary music under the commission of NHK (State-owned broadcasting stations of Japan). Since the premiere on the radio was released, I added a part just before the broadcast occured in the piece to be interesting when listening on the radio. For example, using a very long silence. This attempt is similar to the challenge for the form of the album that was made in “Pata Music.”
Chain DLK: Did you plan any touring to spread PataMusic out of Japan as well?
Shoei Amimori: Regarding the live performance related to my solo works, I’ve only done them in Tokyo. So I want to do it all over the world. I will make plans in the near future.
Chain DLK:Any other work in progress?
Shoei Amimori: This year, I am planning some productions. These are an exhibition of sound installation, a production of other artists, and so on. Now I’m enjoying some collaboration works. I want to start making my own work next year.
Shoei Amimori website URL: www.shoheiamimori.com