‘What on earth is this?! It`s brilliant!’
ICHI, from Nagoya in Japan, takes the notion of a one-man band to new limits, combining his quirky handmade instrument inventions (Stilt-bass, Kalilaphone, Balloon-pipes, Hatbox-pedal-drum, Tapumpet, Percussion-shoes & Hat-trick-hat) with steel-drum, ping-pong balls, toys & everyday objects all in the space of one short set. Somehow there’s an ancient, ritualistic feel to his performances – he’s like the misplaced leader of a tribe. To see ICHI live is to witness something so playful and unusual you know that you’re experiencing something entirely new. It`s fun, it`s danceable, it`s exciting.
Having toured as a solo artist in Japan, the UK and Europe, playing at festivals including Greenman, End of the Road, Boomtown, In The Woods, Great Escape, Camp Bestival and Glastonbury, ICHI has been making waves and it`s unsurprising he is championed by the likes of David Byrne, BBC 6`s Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe, Tom Ravenscroft & Lauren Laverne, and Deerhoof who invited him to play with them in New York at their event The Wordless Music Series. In Japan he has shared the stage with such artists as Asa-chang & Junray, Shugo Tokumaru & Tennis Coats and has an animation based on his character on NHK(BBC equivalent), as well as making TV appearances on NHK.
ICHI’s simple concepts and playful presentation have universal appeal and his new single Go Gambo has been receiving much airplay on Radio 1, BBC6music, XFM, Amazing Radio and Resonance FM and his video has quickly racked up 7000+ views. Recorded onto analogue 8-track tape and self released on 7″ vinyl, it opens with a universally recognisable mosquito hum then proceeds with a catchy, familiar-sounding bass line strummed out on a long, thin insect-like home-made instrument (Stilt-Bass), while the vocals are punk-like, small and high-pitched in the language of the insect itself. It’s a song about mistaken identity (gagambo is an insect unfortunate enough to be mistaken as a big mosquito, resulting in probable death by angry clapping hands) and it`s a clever blend of the familiar and the bizarre. Also a practicing and exhibiting artist and film-maker, ICHI is usually seen with a cine camera in his hand, or his hands rooting through Bristol skips for materials for his musical and sculptural inventions, or his hands in the earth making human sized interactive earth xylophones as he did at Bristol`s Forage Festival organized by Qu Junktions. He exhibited last year in London with fellow musicians-come-artists Francois Marry of Francois & The Atlas Mountain (Domino), Alessi’s Ark (Bella Union), Kate Stables of This is the Kit(Brasslands), Rozi Plain(Fence) and Rachael Dadd(Talitres), for the show ‘D.I.Y Is All You Need’.
‘Hilarious & bonkers & brilliant!’
‘It’s the kind of idiosyncrasy that cult fan-bases are built on, and you can’t help but feel it couldn’t have come from anywhere but the land of the rising sun’