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Kishi Bashi at the Edge of the World (MSM)

11 Mar 2013

written by Mod Mobilian

Kishi Bashi at the Edge of the World

Kishi Bashi at the End of the World

Kishi Bashi at the Edge of the World

Originally posted on My Spilt Milk



You’ve heard Kishi Bashi whether you know it or not. Last year, his semi-symphonic “It All Began with a Burst” was used in an ad for Sony’s Xperia Tablet S. He sang “And the source was your laughter / threw me off the wall” as ninjas and B-movie characters moved through tablet frames. He was almost inescapable when his voice singing “You and me at the edge of the world” helped launch Windows 8 as people manipulated family photos with just a fingertip to the tune of his “Bright Whites.” Both songs came from his debut album, 151a, and when he plays One Eyed Jacks Saturday night, it will be his third time in New Orleans in support of it.

Kishi Bashi’s real name is Kaoru “K” Ishibashi, and the Virginia-born violinist started his musical career as the singer in a rock band. By the time that band was done, he knew he needed a different way to make music. “I was burned out on music by committee,” he says. “Your creativity can be compromised, so I made sure that I can play by myself.” That didn’t mean he was burned out on a big sound, though. He took the same route as Andrew Bird and Theresa Andersson and turned to looping his violin as a way to create a full band sound on his own, which has the added benefit of being cost-efficient in financially tough times.

Is it a coincidence that the violin is the preferred instrument of a number of loop-oriented musicians? Ishibashi doesn’t think so. “It definitely lends itself to orchestral textures,” he says. “The violin has a lot of sustain in it, so you can get a lot of lush textures. A guitar can’t get the kind of panoramic sound that a violin can.”

Like Andersson, he found the learning curve steep at first. He has been making music by looping live for a year and a half, and he admits, “I used to mess up a lot.” Through practice, he became better at it, and figured out how to get the most sound as simply as possible. He has a few complicated moves that he has to make onstage, but Ishibashi relies heavily on one pedal to minimize what can go wrong. And “I don’t drink as much as I’d like to,” he says with a laugh.

When he plays, he’ll be accompanied not by a band but by a couple of additional musicians to add a additional instruments and harmonies. He starts his shows alone onstage to show the audience how he makes his music, and to reassure them that he’s not playing to tracks or triggered samples. “I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m literally creating this stuff in front of their eyes,” Ishibashi says. He can play his show solo, but “a couple of songs I really need help with to get them more exciting.”


For the rest of the story see My Spilt Milk




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