Colin Marshall sits down in Kobe, Japan with guitarist, improviser, and sound artist Tim Olive, whose latest album is 33 Bays with Alfredo Costa Monteiro. They discuss Japan’s importance to global experimental music culture; his own swerve toward experimentation after a western Canadian childhood spent listening to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid; his early exploration of Javanese music in a Saskatchewan record library; how a Québécois girlfriend took him from Montreal to Osaka, where he lost “the rage”; how struck he felt by the sea of black hair Japan first presented to him; Osaka’s “glorious ugliness,” Nara’s deer, and Kobe’s wild pigs (just one of the signs of its close proximity to nature); his lack of a computer until last year, his longstanding ambivalence toward digital technology, and the double-edged sword of the internet’s power to open up everything all at once; his workshop full of guitars in various states of dismantlement, and the importance of instrument modification to the physicality and sense of touch in music, both of which he prizes; Japan’s distinctive combination of the highest new technology and the oldest traditions, as seen in the zoning collage of Osaka where venerable temples meet up with glossy love hotels; the fluid senses of time and space one must cultivate when moving between the West and the East, or even between Asian countries; his “under the table”-style freedom in Japan, and the other kinds of freedom the country affords, such as to one particular naked salaryman before the cops caught up with him; 845 Audio, the label he founded to release 33 Bays without delay; and his recommendations for getting tapped into the Kansai experimental music scene.
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