Akio Suzuki Listening Session
To celebrate Blank Forms reissue of Takehisa Kosugi and Akio Suzuki’s 1980 record New Sense of Hearing, Blank Forms and Crossing Tones will present a listening session featuring unreleased recordings of Akio Suzuki made by producer, engineer, and label-runner Kazunori Sugiyama. In 2020, Sugiyama entrusted Crossing Tones with the stewardship of his meticulous archive of documentation gathered over the forty-three years he spent photographing and recording New York’s avant-garde music scene. In this listening session, we will play selected highlights from Sugiyama’s numerous live recordings of Suzuki in their original format. Sealed originals from Sugiyama’s first record label, Bellows, and books from his personal collection will be available for purchase.
Kazunori Sugiyama (b. 1950) is a producer and recordist active in New York City from 1977 through 2020, when he returned to his native Japan. Sugiyama’s lasting work documenting the New York avant-garde includes capturing the end of the 1970s loft-era through location recordings, photography, and as a recordist and studio producer starting in the 1980s. In 1995, he and John Zorn founded the still-active nonprofit label Tzadik. To date, Sugiyama has been involved in the production of nearly a thousand released records.
Akio Suzuki (b. 1941) was born in Pyongyang, North Korea, to Japanese parents. For the artist-musician’s first work Kaidan ni Mono wo Nageru (Throwing Things at the Stairs), 1963, Suzuki tossed a bucket of miscellaneous objects down a flight of stairs in Nagoya Station and listened to the sounds it produced. During the next decade, he would create original instruments including the Suzuki-type glass harmonica and the echo instrument Analapos. In 1976, Tokyo’s Minami gallery hosted his first exhibition, “Akio Suzuki’s World: Sound Objects and Sound Tools.” For his 1988 performance piece Hinatabokko No Kukan (Space in the Sun), Suzuki spent twenty-four hours listening to his surroundings on the meridian line that runs through Amino, Kyoto. Suzuki has performed and exhibited at many venues and music festivals, including Documenta 8 (Germany, 1987), the British Museum (2003), Musée Zadkine (France, 2004), Kunstmuseum Bonn (Germany, 2018), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (2019).
Crossing Tones is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that acts as an intermediary custodian for significant collections of Jazz music and related items. Crossing Tones gathers essential source materials and prepares them for acquisition, preservation, and use in meaningful teaching and listening initiatives to facilitate research, deepen appreciation, and broaden the listener base for the music.
Curated by Katherine Whatley of Crossing Tones and Blank Forms. All materials courtesy Kazunori Sugiyama.
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