Refraction and Reflection

Tatsuro Kojima

My approach to music, having received a specialized education in art, might be said to be closer to that of paintings and sculptures. Being conscious in the handling of elements such as hue, saturation, brightness, mass, form, and texture, I directly apply these principles to sound as well. Considering the artists and pieces that have influenced me the most, including Agnes Martin、Ad Reinhardt、cy twombly、Morris Louis、Mark Rothko, my inspirations are visual rather than musical. To me, there is no boundary in particular between making music and drawing a picture.

Refraction and Reflection

Refraction and Reflection has taken field recordings and synthesizer sounds and processed them in various ways to alter and reconstruct the original. Some of the sounds present are complexly processed recordings, retaining none of their original qualities, others are delicate noise, and then there are those which recreate the sounds of nature, such as that of treading on snow or tree branches, or the call of a bird. There are truly a great variety of sounds utilized. In this album, I tried to bring into harmony both the tactile and the deeply spiritual aspects of sound.

AB063 | August 2015



  1. Album Of The Year

    Being an incredible fan of his previous effort (made my best of list!) I had high hopes for this work. He delivers with a whole new vision, but with a familiar axiom: sound is key. His delicate assembling of bleeps, clicks, and natural utterances create a kaleidoscopic experience for the listener. His use of slight melody (whether from piano or laptop) create a perfect sense of balance to where you feel the albums sincerity. This album has the ability to throw Kojima into the hat of the most important electronic figures today.

  2. Foreign Accents

    Tatsuro Kojima is a sound artist with a background in visual arts, and on his second outing for Audiobulb, Refraction and Reflection, one can see his meaning when he says that much of his inspiration as a sound artist comes from non-figurative painters like Mark Rothko. Refraction and Reflection is synaethesic laptop ambient painted in swirling, filamentous strokes.

    As is the case with predecessors and possible influences like Taylor Deupree, Sawako, and Wil Bolton, the main pleasure of Kojima’s approach is the very finely-tuned and tactile juxtaposition of timbres that goes into each piece. Tones from field recordings, synths, and, occasionally, piano are processed and arranged so as to create soundscapes all at once airy and furrowed, enveloping and tinny. This aesthetic culminates with the sprawling, serene “Fish Eye”, in which one cannot help but relate the flurry of processed birdcalls and footsteps crawling across the steady drone in the background to a tableaux of details sprawled across a heavily distorted panoramic view. These pieces are impassive, mysterious, inviting– a spooky sense of melody hovers in and out of the mix, muted but not buried, but what is really interesting here is how Kojima’s experiments with processing can make very commonplace sounds seem very alien and looming. 

    Kojima’s work here is as great as anything I’ve heard from the best, and if you are into sound art and ambient music, I can’t recommend Refraction and Reflection to you enough.

  3. Music Won't Save You

    The Japanese origin is evident in the music of Tatsuro Kojima even before he read the author's name: the delicacy in the juxtaposition of the elements and the continuous streaks electro-acoustic report it to an aesthetic extremely defined and recognizable, which in recent twenty years has united several Japanese composers, by Kazumasa Hashimoto to late Susumu Yokota.

    Kojima adds, however, something of their own in the eleven miniatures collected in "Refraction And Reflection": not only the constant game of mirrors, which is also obvious from the title, which reshapes non-stop frequencies, field recordings and acoustic fragments, but an impressionistic approach borrowed the visual arts.

    Its tracks appear in fact the result of a progressive stratification of brushstrokes polychrome that, one after the other, producing an image whose formation can be observed in the making second durations more or less long, from fragments of two to three minutes to the fourth now the final elegy drone gritty "Fish-Eye". This technique is used both to brilliant joints between synthetic sources and processed, applicants in the first part of the work, as in environmental enveloping texture uniformity ("Surface Of The Light", "Owari Ni") and surprising drops of piano ("Yuki No Ato (28/11 9 AM) "," Kokoro / Asu Wa Yoi Hi ").

    The palette of Kojima gives so multifaceted kaleidoscopes and dense monochrome, to grasp both in their irregular texture and lived, distilled from an unconventional approach to landscaping electro-acoustic.

  4. So What

    The multidisciplinary artistic approach is a very obvious in the musical production of the Japanese Tatsuro Kojima. The ability to return vivid images made of intense colors and changing lights is fully confirmed in his new job "Refraction and reflection", published for Audiobulb Records.

    The result of complex manipulations of electronic sounds and field recordings, the album consists of eleven tracks that represent as many possible variations of a flow environment that hopes to provide a representation of the landscape and the elements that compose it. In this sense the reverberations gently noisy "Surface of the light" that are grafted on soft textured background give perfectly the sense of how sound can tell like the visual arts, as well as you can distinctively hear the muffled quiet of a snowy scene in the delicate narrative of "Yuki No Ato (28/11 9 am)." At times the light of the compositions, outlined the intensity of delicate glitch becomes blinding, giving activity to the seabed almost totally neutral living pulse of light that mark the pace, as in "Neutral" or "Blank space" or "Owari Ni ". In the constant search that marks the unfolding of "Refraction and reflection" is equipped also hints of melody lines, mysterious and vaguely disturbing "Fiction?", Narcoleptic and hypnotic "Kikoro / Asu Wa Yoi Hi". In closing we find "Fish-Eye", the track's most ambitious work, a dilated plot tending to stagnation and costellatta grafts scratching sounds.

    A disc to savor as much attention, full of nuances that enhance the quality synesthetic.

  5. Infinite Grain

    Sounds are ambiguous, hanging between fragility and strength, within the evanescent nature and its tendency to presence, which in listening is nothing but the delicacy of a meeting with the sense of texture: the concrete-abstract cycle here reflected by Kojima in a work able to transcend any organic-synthetic interpolation, by including exotic field recordings, furtive pianos and unknown sonic masses from which a wonderful mix of colors, interferences, and shades is achieved. Sonic sculptures in motion; variable and vibrant layers featuring quasi-randomized grains and objects in wide ranges and timescales, arriving in time to develop picturesque dreams, like a theater suspended between the contraction and fragmentation of sounds. Matter, scenery and waves here wandering together in the synergy of an endless yet beautiful dialogue: implosion and explosion, melody and texture, refraction and reflection.

  6. Chain D.L.K.

    Tatsuro Kojima describes himself as composing in visual terms rather than musical ones as being trained as a visual artist. This release has been constructed using "field recordings and synthesizer sounds and processed them in various ways to alter and reconstruct the original". However, rather than sound as a complex intertwining of sounds, this release is almost linear in his development from more complex tracks to more linear ones.

    The first half, starting with "idea" is closer to some forms of post-glitch where the noises and the samples are arranged, rather than exposing their discontinuities, to recreate a sort of blurred edge. "Surface of the light" uses a drone as unifying elements for the field recordings. "0405" is a clever sequences of samples while "neutral" is a static and metronomic one. With the piano notes of "0203" starts the second half of this release, oriented toward gentle ambient miniature mostly based on loop, "blank space" is a gentle noisy soundscape while "fiction?" is focused on the dialogue between the hypnotic carillon like background and the noise upon with a remarkable result. "Yuki no ato (28/11 9 a.m.)" is almost a lowercase tune while "kokoro / asu wa you hi" is almost a proper piano piece ending with the resonances of the last notes which occupies almost half of the track. "Owari ni" develops the distortion of a drone. "Fish-eye" is an hypnotic track based on a drone and field recording acting as almost a loop.