A MUSICAL AND DESIGN-DEVELOPING POLYMATH HAS BROUGHT A BOW TO PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS AND NON-STOP CREATIVE ENERGY TO AN ITINERANT LIFE
Sarah Fensom, brutjournal’s U.S.A. West Coast bureau chief, recently spoke with the percussionist-designer Tatsuya Nakatani about the development of his innovative soloist’s sound, his life on the road in his customized Dodge Sprinter van, his crafting of his distinctive Kōbō Bows, and his ever-expanding artistic projects.
by Sarah Fensom
The Japanese avant-garde musician, sound artist, designer, and composer Tatsuya Nakatani is known for a singular approach to percussion. Among his distinctions: he plays an adapted gong with a bow.
His “Kōbō Bow” (“kōbō no yumi” in Japanese; “kōbō” means “workshop”), which varies in significant ways from a typical, acoustic-bass instrument’s bow, is his own original creation.
Designed and hand-carved especially for use with percussion instruments, it is the only bow of its kind in the world. Using this tool, Nakatani can produce a rich, resonant sound like no other; it bridges the expanse between the expressive intensity of percussion and the legato smoothness for which string instruments are known. His solo performances, which can be extremely physical, often feature multiple gongs, singing bowls, cymbals, and arrays of drums. Nakatani’s movements and the deep, droning music he creates seem to engender all-encompassing, transcendent-feeling experiences.
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