It was the Apollohuis who introduced Akio Suzuki to a dutch audience and since i have been following Suzuki. Finally i have found another copy of the Akio Suzuki Soundphere cd package that was published in 1990 by HET APOLLOHUIS. The package contains a booklet and a cd and is one of the hardest to find of all Suzuki publications.
Born in 1941 in Pyongyang, Korea to Japanese parents, who moved their family back to Japan when he was four, Suzuki grew up in the Aichi prefecture, near Nagoya. After initially studying architecture, he turned toward sound. The ’60s found him in a period of self-study, initiated by the happening Kaidan ni Mono wo Nageru (Throwing Things at the Stairs) in 1963, where he threw a bucket of objects down the stairwell of the Nagoya train station. The movements of the time (Gutai, Fluxus, etc.) created an atmosphere for his experimentation, but Suzuki worked largely alone in the development of his ideas. The sonic details of that initial event—the live, raw sound of those objects falling down the stairwell and the reverberation of the architecture—became a central influence for his self-study, as he worked to follow the sound of the natural and manmade world and to develop ideas that would place him in relationship to that sound. All his work—from live improvisation to installations and instrument design—is based on an interest in the echo. The echo is the perfect example of the temporal continuum of nature. An echo brings the actions of the past into the present (for what is an echo but the mountains responding through repetition?), but also prepares for the future. It is a type of being-in-the-moment, which contains all sonic time.
Of the many instruments that Suzuki has designed, the Analapos is the one he continues to return to in order to further explore the possibilities of the echo. Originally designed in the 1970s, and modelled after a spring reverb, it is based on the design of a child’s toy telephone made by joining two tin cans together with a string, in this case connecting two large metal cylinders by a fifteen-foot spring wire. The Analapos is a cheeky response to the musical zeitgeist of that period; its humour extends to its name, a portmanteau of analog and postmodern. As Suzuki explains, “New technology was developing for music, where the echo became a futuristic thing during that time period.” But his personal interest stemmed from his interest in the natural world. “I used to play with echoes in mountains, then I invented the Analapos.” It is amusing to think that this simple instrument resembling a children’s toy competes effortlessly with complicated electronics designed to add special effects to disco and progressive rock, and that its very acoustic qualities draw from the sublime characteristics of the natural world.
Suzuki has one Analapos that he holds horizontally like an alpine horn to sing through, and a pair that are suspended vertically by a stand, so he can drum on the cylinder lids and the seven-foot spring suspended between them. The metal spring in between the two cylinders amplifies Suzuki’s voice and percussive hits to the cylinders, creating a rich and beguiling reverberation. To witness Suzuki in performance on the Analapos is to witness the way natural reverberation alters sound.
Through performance, Suzuki’s explorations concentrate on the acoustic properties of sound making. It is as if he is bringing nature into the hall—the simple resonance of two stones; percussion that sounds like a rainstorm; echoes like those heard on a valley floor. Suzuki, even at seventy years old, brings attention back to his interests as a child. In conversation he talks about his enjoyment of landscape, from watching from the window of his hilltop birth home in Pyongyang, North Korea to his afternoons spent in his house at Lake Biwa in Japan. “After it finished raining, the water flowed through the garden and I was always watching,” he recalls, “hearing and watching.”