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Tetsuya Hori: About concepts & love stories

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What exactly do you mean when you say that your music has no concept?
First off, I would like to say that it is impossible to compose without concept. The composition must determine some kind of target points to put a full stop in the end. What I mean is: the target point is a concept. I think that composer, performer and audience are related to the music. The composer has a certain concept in his mind, but then he has to trust the performer who “creates” the sounds – and then there is the audience which has its own particular viewpoint and understanding of the music.
When I play my music in front of an audience, I am a performer, not the composer. As a performer, I have the intention to make the music sound good. Therefore I have to decide for or create a concept each time I play. The concept depends e.g. on the size and acoustic situation of the concert venue. It is different each time. And the audience is different each time as well: They have different feelings, a different mood and different expectations. I try to catch these informations with my eyes, ears, skin, with all my senses and then it discharges in my play. In other words: my concept as a performer is to make the music suit the place and situation. The audience always understands the music in a different way and always imagines new things when listening. I don’t want to “dictate” them a concept or an interpretation. I always say, the music is different every time. Because an audience will always imagine new things in the music. The composer cannot express music without a performer. The performer cannot move back anymore once he has begun to produce sound. Therefore I think that the pieces finally grow up through the imagination of the audience.
So, as a performer and as a composer I do have a concept each time – just like the audience confronted with the music. Just my pieces themselves do not have a concept…


Not making use of concepts of course doesn't mean you don't have certain ideas about aesthetics or form. How would you describe your musical personality?

I probably can say that my music has many sides. For example, the object seems totally different from each viewpoint: depending on whether you're looking at it from the front, behind, left, right, top or bottom. I think my musical personality is like that.


Not working with concepts seems tricky in a collaborational setting. How do you approach your work with other artists in this respect?
When I play with other artists, I am kind of an “audience”, too. I am a listener to the other player’s music. What I understand in the other artist's music is what creates my concept of it. My decision for cooperations are based on sympathy and interest. But I don’t do compromises.


What makes Soon Kim an ideal partner for you in terms of your live performances?

He plays splendid melodies. It’s not so much from theory but from his own unique experience as an artist. I always discover technical brilliance and great musical storytelling in his phrases.


With regards to your current album with Soon Kim, what was your approach to the sessions?
Our approach was improvisation. I was a listener to Soon’s music and he was a listener to my music. We were each other’s audience. The only fixed things are the background sounds I use and the fixed time of the pieces. It is what we daringly did not mention when we released this album this time, but there is the sound of the background in all pieces. The sound becomes the title of all pieces. We improvise over these given factors, disturb the sounds, answer to each other, disturb each other. Don’t you think that is exciting? It was a completely new approach to me and I enjoyed it a lot.


What else do you remember about the recording of „non-transposed sense“?

It was a very exciting recording. But mentally and physically very challenging because we needed a very fine sensibility for it. We were not able to play a piece more than twice a day and we usually did not play the second take very good because we were tired and exhausted. So most of the pieces on the CD are first-take-recordings.


You mention the importance of feedback for your music. Are you sometimes surprised by what listeners see and hear in your work?
Yes, very surprised. There once was a listener who saw a deep and sad love story in one of my peces. That was a completely new viewpoint that surprised me very much. This way, the music changes into various forms and will be brought up by audience...

Homepage: Hori Tetsuya
Homepage: Soon Kim
Homepage: Konnex Records

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