by Chris MaGee
I can guarantee you that by running the J-Film Pow-Wow blog that I learn about some new film, director or artist almost every week, sometimes everyday. That's what makes it fun for me, and I hope that comes across. This week is no different than any other in that I've made another find that I'll spend a good chunk of this weekend investigating, in this case it's throat singer, performance artist and "body musician" Fuyuki Yamanaka. The 37-year-old artist musician uses both the new and the old in his live performances. On the one hand he employs hi-tech sound equipment to both amplify his heartbeat as well as trigger lights on stage, while on the other hand he's a master khoomei singer, a form of traditional throat singing from the Central Asian country of Tuva in which performers produces multiple tones, both guttural lows and bird-like whistling highs, at the same time.
Cool, but what does this have to do with Japanese film? You've got me there. Nothing, but Yamanaka does have a connection to popular Japanese visual culture. He's been featured in recent TV commercials in Japan for the SONY Walkman (they still make those?) in which he does what he does best, in this case mic'ing his head and using his skull as an amplifier. The results are pretty damn amazing as you can see in the video below.
Thanks to Pink Tentacle for pointing the way to this, and if you, like me, are interested in learning more about Yamanaka then check out his official website here.