Irrashaimase is an interior monologue or meditation on sounds of urban Japan: robotic, repetitive, and chaotic, but also — to my ears — elegant, delicate and musical. Its construction parallels the way our imaginations reshape and elaborate memories, often making of them much more — but sometimes much less — than the experiences that created them. I recorded most of the materials for this piece in Japan in 1990, on an analogue ‘Walkman.’ During subsequent trips to Japan, in 2000 and ’02, I returned to many of the original locations, and noted that most of my chosen materials were effectively long-term ‘soundmarks’ for those locations, not the transitory phenomena I had expected. Through that knowledge, I came to realise that the piece is as much a sonic, cultural portrait of a place as it is a mnemonic of personal experience.
Irrashaimase was realized in 2000 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and the composer’s studio in Nova Scotia (Canada), and premiered on February 6, 2000 during the “Aural Kinetics” concert series produced by BEAST at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham. The work has also been presented in BEAST: De Natura Sonorum (Birmingham) in 2004, and in other events in Canada. The composer acknowledges financial support from the Nova Scotia Arts Council during the creation of this work.
February 6, 2000, Aural Kinetics, Foyle Studio — Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham (England, UK)