Kazuhisa Uchihashi is one of the foremost guitar improvisers to come out of Japan. In addition to guitar he plays the daxophone, an instrument devised by Hans Reichel. You can get some of Uchihashi’s early history here. As you will see from these videos, his wide range of influences, mastery of the E-H 16 Second Delay looper, and passionate proficiency make for an artistic world that transcends the sometimes self-limited boundaries of improvised music.
What kind of music were you playing when you first became proficient on guitar?
I started my career with Jazz. Of course, I have a wide musical background, but when I got money for playing, I was a jazz guitarist.
What led you to create more experimental (non-mainstream) music?
My friend suggested I perform improvisation when I was in my mid-20s. I started to improvise and focused more on the experimental music scene. In my Late 20s, I was really impressed by Fred Frith. He brought a lot of ideas to the guitar and I loved his music. It was also big meeting Hans Reichel in 1990. We were in touch for many years until he passed away. He was the most special person to me, not only in a musical way but personally. He was more inventor than musician. As a musician, he is someone everyone envies, because he invented his own instruments.
Whose music inspires you? Past and Present.
I have a wide-ranging musical background: rock, jazz, pop, experimental, noise… I learned many things from great people, not just musical meaning but also the philosophy of being a musician. Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Brian Eno, Robert Wyatt, Fred Frith, Hans Reichel, Atahualpa Yupanqui, Kim Sinh, John Zorn, Haruomi Hosono, Buddy Guy, Bill Frisell, Kang Tae Hwan, and others were all influences.
How did you get better at your style?
I learned by playing with great musicians. If you can be honest, you can learn. If not, you can’t learn anything.
What are you trying say to people with your music?
I don’t say anything about music. If I could explain my music, I wouldn’t need to play.
Which guitars, amps, effects, plug-ins and software do you use to create your music, and why?
My main instrument is a Godin guitar with a specially mounted sustainer. I use an original Electro-Harmonix 16 Second Delay.
Which do you enjoy more: recording or playing live and why?
I love playing for people but I also love recordings, too.
How have you built up an audience for your music?
The only way to build up audience is to keep playing for them and enjoying playing.
With whom would you like to collaborate and why?
I like to play with great Monks—they push me up to another level.
What is your latest project? When will it be available and where can people in different parts of the world get it?
My recent project is collaboration with Indonesian musicians. We have made two cds already. They are two guys called Senyawa. Now we have a new name as trio format, Mahanyawa. I learned how important the soul is by playing with them. The most important thing is how to express your soul by playing music. Music by itself is not as powerful.