Hyper-prolific Japanese experimental/noise musician Aube (aka Akifumi Nakajima) passed away Sept. 25, it was learned recently. The cause of death has yet to be reported. He was born in 1959.
The Aube releases I’ve heard—which constitutes probably five percent of what he’s issued—stand out for their unusual and extreme tonalities, often derived from unexpected sources (e.g., the Bible for Pages From the Book, heartbeats for Cardiac Strain) and then radically manipulated in the studio. My favorite Aube work, Sensorial Inducement, plays from the center of the record outward and sounds like a frenzied debate among Venusian crickets, a Theremin being played by an octopus underwater, and your brain processing some very unnerving stimuli.
Eric Lanzillotta—local experimental musician/owner of Anomalous Records/ex-proprietor of Dissonant Plane record store—was friends with Akifumi. Below he shares some thoughts about his life and music as well as a track that the two recorded live in Japan in 2004. RIP, Akifumi Nakajima.
I have gotten the sad news that my old friend Akifumi Nakajima passed away in September. It seems the news is only just creeping out and took a while to reach everyone outside of Japan. Nakajima was probably best known for his work under the name Aube, which was one of the more prolific, and for me most interesting, noise acts from Japan in the 1990s. He had an impeccable sense of design and appreciation for the materials, taking packaging beyond just using regular old paper. His label G.R.O.S.S. presented an impressive selection of international artists and was an important part of the Anomalous Records catalog. I could really go on and on about his achievements and biography, but I think it is well documented online.
I would just like to add that I always appreciated his support and friendship, and greatly respected his honestly and commitment to quality. In 2004, I spent two weeks in Japan. Eight of those days were in Kyoto and I saw Akifumi almost every day. Seeing the temples and shrines, as well as record stores I would have never found on my own, with him gave the city much more depth than I would have found there on my own. It is heartening to know that he has left a vast recorded legacy for people to appreciate, but sad to lose such a good soul.
In memory of him, I want to share the recording of our one live performance together. This is a little different than the noise music some may associate with him, and I suppose points forward towards the analog electronic revival that started to appear not long after this concert.
Unfortunately, this also comes in a wave of other deaths in the experimental community as albrecht/D., Bernard Parmegiani and Sten Hanson have also left this world. All three had long and productive careers. These are just more reasons to appreciate those that are still with us!