Yoshio Machida

Biography by

Born in Japan in 1967 and currently based in Tokyo, Yoshio Machida describes himself as a trans-boundary sound and visual artist. He studied music and minimalist and cinematic arts at the Tama Art University,…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Born in Japan in 1967 and currently based in Tokyo, Yoshio Machida describes himself as a trans-boundary sound and visual artist. He studied music and minimalist and cinematic arts at the Tama Art University, where his mentors were Kuniharu Akiyama, Sakumi Hagiwara, Kishio Suga, and Yoshiaki Touno. Beginning in 1988 he spent 16 years traveling extensively throughout the world making field recordings, many of which would subsequently appear in his electro-acoustic recordings. During the '90s he expanded his visual collage techniques into what he called photobatik while engaging in conceptual poetics and musicological experimentation. In 1999, using koan software by SSEYO Ltd., Machida created a number of koan sound pieces under the title "Amorphous," issuing them along with a painting catalog on a self-produced floppy disc. His first CD release, also dated 1999, was called Hypernatural. This was a signed, limited-edition art package containing a camera-obscura box, a CD with eight sound works, printed and illustrated materials, and a crow feather. Machida, whose structural performance concepts were shaped by India's improvisational music traditions, also names ancient East Asian agrarian sun worship systems (wherein the gong was regarded as a symbol for sunlight and its life-giving powers) as a basis for his choice of gongs and the more chromatically versatile amorphone, a mock steel pan (similar to the steel drum) of his own devising that he enhances with Max/MSP programmable software. Hypernatural #2, the first album resulting from this innovative discipline, was released on the German Softl Music label in 2001. The two Hypernatural albums, with their declared themes of Asian light mythos and "transparent existence," contained field recordings made at Lumbini in Nepal (the birthplace of Gautama Buddha), and a malaria grassland in Ghana. Machida (whose unreleased albums include a third installment in the Hypernatural series, an audio-tribute to painter Georgia O'Keeffe, an electro-acoustic project titled "Vajra" and a massive collage of field recordings) founded his own amorfon label in 2004 and brought out Infinite Flowers (2004) and Naada (2006). Machida has developed a healthy and productive working relationship with artists from all over Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Since 2002 he has participated in festivals and art events in the U.K., France, Holland, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Macedonia, Russia, Finland, China, and of course Japan. He has been particularly active as the creator and cementer of cultural bonds between Japan and various countries in Eastern Europe. In 2005, Machida organized and led a musical workshop for children at Minamisuna Elementary School in Tokyo. Tangible evidence of this artist's open-minded and generously inclusive attitude towards children as creative musicians appeared in 2007 as Kindermusik: Improvised Music by Babies. This remarkable album consists of performance audio artworks by individuals who had not yet attained the age of 18 months. Also in 2007, Yoshio Machida and Yasufumi Suzuki created and began operating Soundroom.JP, a podcasting station devoted to experimental art and music. Machida's dub-electronica unit, operating under the name of miimo, consists of bassist tatsu and drummer Norihide Saji. Machida is a member of Walk with the Penguin, an ensemble formed in collaboration with Serbian rock band Cinc. His work can be found on a number of compilations in the avant-garde and electronica categories, one choice example being Resonance: Steel Pan in the 21st Century [Alas Seis Music 2007].