Otomo Yoshihide is revered as a pioneer of Onkyo-kei (“noise music”), a movement dating back to the 1990s in Japan. He is known for his distinct style of improvisation, which employs original extended techniques to coax unfathomable sounds out of his electric guitar, turntables, and other audio equipment. Otomo has recently gained wider exposure in the U.S. via high-profile collaborations with Christian Marclay and Onkyo-kei is the uniting force among the four artists of FEN (Far East Network), who favor the exploration of texture and timbre over melody and harmony, blurring the lines between noise and silence, density and sparseness.
FEN describes its aesthetic as “a sound-oriented attitude, embracing local and individual sound rather than established musical structure.” For many years, Otomo Yoshihide, Ryu Hankil, Yan Jun, and Yuen Chee Wai supported one another through group performances in their respective countries before forming FEN in 2008. Since then, the group has performed across Europe and Asia, with notable appearances at LUFF in Switzerland, All Ears in Norway, and at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in South Korea. The union and collaborative attitude of FEN point toward a truly pan-Asian cultural climate.
Otomo Yoshihide + FEN’s (Far East Network) music residency at Pioneer Works was made possibly by our partnership with Japan Society.