KAWANI, HIROSHI - Flashback
Hiroshi Kawani is a little known figure in the West, but he has been crucially central to the Tokyo avant-garde scene since the fifties as performer, commentator, theorist, organiser, and agitator. He was part of the sixties experimental art nexus that included Takehisa Kosugi and Yasunao Tone as well as radical artists like Natsuyuki Nakanishi and Genpei Akasegawa (in the greatest cause célèbre of the 60s Japanese art world, the latter was prosecuted by the Japanese state for creating one-sided simulacra of bank notes). Later, as an editor at publishers Gendai Shichosha Kawani was responsible for bringing out Japanese translations of work by Artaud, Bataille, Derrida and others -- works that galvanised a new generation of radicals. Kawani has been active as a solo voice performer since the early 80s, and though now in a wheelchair he still performs regularly. The private home recordings presented here have been unearthed by alto terrorist Masayoshi Urabe from a mountain of cassettes of unknown provenance, and would seem to date from around 1983. Theres the unmistakable feel of low-level mania throughout, as Kawani moans, jabbers and obsesses wordlessly into a microphone over an patterned tapestry of feedback and amped everyday objects (rubber bands, cans, bottles, knives, steel pipes, shoes, chopsticks etc). This touches on all kinds of synapse-warping art bases from Robert Ashley to the Nurse With Wound in a gloriously messy, unacademic (and yes, psychedelic) way. - Alan Cummings.
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