Japan Artist Residency Journal

A collection of moments from my residency in Itoshima, Fukuoka, Japan.

 

Japan residency week one:

I arrived in Fukuoka exhausted; with a tired sense of wonder I ventured out into the city late at night and my phone quickly died. I was lost and without the language to communicate–I felt free. The next night I saw some psychedelic bands and had a stunted conversation about Can. I saw some head-spinning work at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum and then took the bus to Itoshima: the quiet coastal town where I am living in a traditional rural home with two other artists.
During the day I drift around the countryside shooting video and work on a solo set for the shows I’m playing here. At night I drink Japanese whiskey, drone out, and try to write. I’m not entirely alone but it’s close enough.

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Japan residency week two:

This week was largely spent indoors with my music equipment spread out across the tatami mats on the floor of my room, practicing the live versions of new Drowse songs for the show. My first show in Japan felt like a true accomplishment–I played an entirely new set with a new setup, alone in front of room of people who had mostly never heard my music. I got lots of good feedback, some of the other artists came to watch me, and the other bands were so cool, from Maru303 with his modular synth trances to Kelp with their psychedelic, heavily experimental jazz.
After the show the people in Kelp took me out to drink and we wound up at a sushi bar at two in the morning. Standing there, drinking highballs and eating sashimi, talking music and literature while not totally understanding each other, and basking in leftover light from the show filled me with an indescribable warmth.

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Second Self Postcard:

Here is a flyer/postcard and description for Second Self, another Drowse show in Japan happening this weekend–it is an interactive audiovisual installation I’ve been working on this past month. It features twelve minutes of audio and video work that will be manipulated live and presented alongside twelve pages of writing. This show precedes and compliments a collection of new music I will be releasing next year.

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Japan residency week three:

I completed and exhibited my installation, Second Self,–twelve minutes of video and sound, 3,520 words–and gave a short talk about it (thanks to Katsura for translating). It was awesome to see all of the other exhibitions; I was also lucky enough to go to two pretty incredible shows, Acid Mothers Temple with Macmanaman, and my friend’s baroque/noise project, 密笑. Tonight I got to have a sake filled Christmas Eve dinner with my friends from Kelp (who also play in Macmanaman, and 密笑). A week of hard work and sensory overload.

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Japan residency week four:

The week began in a post-exhibition glow; I spent my last days in Itoshima biking around, journaling on the beach, and finishing up a new music video. Soon it was time to pack up my gear and head to Tokyo, where I stayed in a hostel in Koenji for five days. I had amazing luck with shows and was able to see Boris with Michio Kurihara, (they played almost the entirety of one of my favorite albums, Rainbow) as well as Keiji Haino (who at 66 played a wildly experimental set for three hours strait). I also went to a depressing exhibition called Catastrophe and the Power of Art at the Mori art museum, which clashed with my heightened mood: a grounding reminder of the sadness that never seems to be far from my chest.
On New Year’s Eve I stayed up to watch the sunrise on the roof of my hostel. As the giant ball rose above Tokyo’s skyline, I reflected: maybe years change like mood cycles, 2017 was one of the darkest years of my life, while 2018 was one of the greatest–I toured a ton with people I was close to (starting with SXSW), put out two records (one with Drowse, one with Floating Room) and a split, played shows and did residencies in Iceland and Japan, and made lasting friendships with people from all over the world. There will be a new Drowse record coming out that I am extremely proud of–I can’t wait to share it with you.

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