Part of the influential American minimalist music and Fluxus scenes in 1960-70s New York, Yoshi Wada was influenced by George Maciunas, La Monte Young and Pandit Pran Nath. This debut UK commission continues his pioneering practice of making musical instruments from plumbing pipes and electronics. The immersive sound installation is constructed from organ pipes, sheet metal, steel pipe, sirens, gong, alarm bells and a ship’s ventilator. Tuned to the architecture of the Great Hall, the work produces sustained, long drones reverberating through space.
“Yoshi Wada’s music is massive. When I first heard Wada in the early 1970s, he was playing massive wind instruments that he called “pipe horns”. Later I watched him singing with a friend in a massive echoing tunnel he had built. Then came the massive air compressors, blowing air through masses of pipes. All the time the music itself was also massive…It may be more accurate to think of Wada as a sculptor than as a composer, because his music seems to be a physical reality, like wood or stone, and also because of the way he treats this material. Wada works directly with the sound itself. He wants to maintain direct contact with the physical reality of sound.” (Tom Johnson)
Yoshi Wada is a sound artist and musician born in Kyoto, Japan. He studied sculpture at the Kyoto City University, and then moved to New York in the late 1960s. Wada joined the Fluxus cultural movement in 1968 after meeting its founder George Maciunas, becoming a key figure on the Japanese Fluxus scene producing work for Flux Box, Flux Mass, and Fluxus concerts.
In New York he spent time studying composition and electronic music with La Monte Young and singing with the North Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. These studies extended his interest in non-western tuning systems. In 1979-80, he constructed a series of large, handmade bagpipe instruments. His later works are entirely scored pieces for portable bagpipes, pipe chanter and percussion. During a year-long DAAD fellowship in Berlin in 1983, Wada began fabrication of an adapted pipe organ, combined with other instruments, which resulted in his major works Off the Wall and The Appointed Cloud. His work is released on the Japanese record label EM Records/Omega Point.
His work has been performed at The Kitchen, New York; New Music in America, New York; Whitney Biennial, New York; Akademie der Kunste, Berlin; Sydney Biennial, Australia; Festival d’Automne, Paris; Kraak Festival, Belgium. His sound installations have been exhibited at Emily Harvey Gallery, New York; Whitney Museum of Art, New York; PSI, New York; and Venice Biennial.
Commissioned by AV Festival 12. World Premiere.
Preview: Fri 2 March 2012, 9am-3pm
Fri 2 March – Sat 31 March 2012
Newcastle NE1 4JA
Mon – Sat 10am–5pm