Asian Meeting Festival in collaboration with Playfreely - CLOSER TO THE EDGE

Over the last two years, Asian Meeting Festival (AMF) has successfully presented numerous collaborations between Asian musicians in many parts of Japan, reaching out to a large and varied audience. Under the support of Asia Centre, on its third year running, the festival actively sought out partners with the idea of presenting the festival outside Japan. Playfreely festival organized by The Observatory came to mind. In 2011, The Observatory started Playfreely as a simple, relaxed platform to gather and showcase musicians from all backgrounds. Originally inspired by the programming of New York experimental music venue The Stone, Playfreely started out as a fortnightly initiative to foster regular sessions amongst musicians to create and play without inhibition. No fixed notions of what's appropriate or appealing, no complicated concepts, no genre fixations, and most importantly, no judgement. It soon morphed into somewhat of a catalyst, igniting musical partnerships and unpredictably cool collaborations. Closer to the Edge is the fourth incantation of Playfreely done in collaboration with Japan's Asian Meeting Festival (AMF) and with event partner The Projector.

AMF x PF 2016 : CLOSER TO THE EDGE Trailer


Night 1

Solo performances by:
- Master improviser OtomoYoshihide (Tokyo) on electric guitar
- Experimental film artist Takashi Makino (Tokyo) presenting a live audio-visual work - space noise 3D using a 16mm film projector
- Junji Hirose (Tokyo) who improvises with the saxophone
Improvisation sets of duos, trios, quartets and ensemble work by the other musicians

Date 8 December(Thursday) 2016, merchandise booth opens at 730pm / Doors open at 745pm / Performance starts at 8pm
Venue The Projector
Ticket Prices $25
Line up Atsusi Arakawa (Koriyama) / Junji Hirose (Tokyo) / Jojo Hiroshige (Tokyo) / Sudarshan Chandra Kumar (Kuala Lumpur) / Takashi Makino (Yokohama) / An Murazato (Omuta) / OtomoYoshihide (Tokyo) / Senyawa (Jogjarkata) / Dharma Shan (Singapore) / dj sniff (Hong Kong) / Tara Transitory (Chiang Mai) / Vivian Wang (Singapore) / T C. Spencer Yeh (New York) / Yuen Chee Wai (Singapore)

Night 2

Solo performance by:
- Jojo Hiroshige (Tokyo) from seminal noise band, Hijokaidan on electric guitar
Performance Segment by:
- Senyawa (Jogjakarta) comprising of Rully Shabara on vocals and Wukir Suryadi on DIY bamboo instruments
Improvisation sets of duos, trios, quartets and ensemble work by the other musicians

Date 9 December (Friday) 2016, merchandise booth opens at 730pm / Doors open at 745pm / Performance starts at 8pm
Venue The Projector
Ticket Prices $25
Line up Atsusi Arakawa (Koriyama) / Junji Hirose (Tokyo) / Jojo Hiroshige (Tokyo) / Sudarshan Chandra Kumar (Kuala Lumpur) / Takashi Makino (Yokohama) / An Murazato (Omuta) / OtomoYoshihide (Tokyo) / Senyawa (Jogjarkata) / Dharma Shan (Singapore) / dj sniff (Hong Kong) / Tara Transitory (Chiang Mai) / Vivian Wang (Singapore) / T C. Spencer Yeh (New York) / Yuen Chee Wai (Singapore)


Asian Meeting Festival Kuala Lumpur: Crossing Over

The Malaysia leg of the Asian Meeting Festival (AMF), a project of acclaimed Japanese musician and composer Otomo Yoshihide, in collaboration with Asian Music Network (AMN), is taking place on Saturday, 10 December, 8pm at Live Fact. Presented by Live Fact and the Kuala Lumpur Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival (KLEX), "Crossing Over" features a stellar lineup of 16 musicians from #Japan & #SoutheastAsia playing in ever-shifting constellations of solos, duos and ensembles.

Date: 10 December (Saturday) 2016, 800pm,
Venue: Live Fact No.33-2, Plaza Danau 2, Jalan 3/109f, Taman Danau Desa, 58100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Admission l RM35 (Presale), RM50 (Door)
Line-up : Atsusi Arakawa (Koriyama); Junji Hirose (Tokyo); Jojo Hiroshige (Tokyo); Sudarshan Chandra Kumar (Kuala Lumpur); Yong Yandsen (Kuala Lumpur), Kok Siew Wai (Kuala Lumpur), Takashi Makino (Yokohama); An Murazato (Omuta); Otomo Yoshihide (Tokyo); Senyawa - Rully Shabara & Wukir Suryadi (Jogjarkata); Dharma (Singapore); Tara Transitory (Chiang Mai); Vivian Wang (Singapore); C. Spencer Yeh (New York) and Yuen Chee Wai (Singapore).


The Black Axis Sessions is a parlour platform series held at The Observatory's rehearsal studio space at Goodman Arts Centre. For this second instalment, master improviser and composer Otomo Yoshihide will present 2 intimate evening sessions of dialogue, performance and workshop. His international acclaim includes a discography of over 200 titles. Otomo Yoshihide has worked with the likes of experimental giants such as Derek Bailey, Keith Rowe, Christian Marclay and Ryuichi Sakamoto. This is a rare opportunity to catch Otomo in this capacity and to learn more about what drives this man to perform relentlessly for over three decades.

Date: 13 December (Tuesday) 2016, 730pm,
Solo performance by Otomo Yoshihide on Turntables
Dialogue Session: "Why Perform? - Listening, Improvising, Composing"
Venue: Black Axis Blk L, #01-48, Goodman Arts Centre 90 Goodman Road, Singapore
Ticket Prices: $16

Date: 14 December (Wednesday) 2016, 730pm,
Workshop on improvisation
(Bring your own instruments, simple set up/ small amps recommended)
Joined by Leslie Low & Yuen Chee Wai
Venue : Black Axis Blk L, #01-48, Goodman Arts Centre 90 Goodman Road, Singapore
Ticket Prices: $25


Arakawa Atsusi
ArakawaAtsusi Born in Miharu-cho,Fukushima. After university he moved to Koriyama Fukushima and formed the band Redd Temple. In 2013 he set up the rehearsal studio "studio tissue ★ box" in Koriyama and it quickly became an important gathering point for many musicians touring past the Fukushima area. He was fascinated by the encounters with a variety of music and people and that eventually led to him developing his own style of playing the guitar and viola, both in improvisation and in his band. He currently plays in ReddTemple, lasnotrikalkulo, jamps and spinks.

Junji Hirose
JunjiHirose Born in Kokubunji, Tokyo, in 1955. Since the end of the '70s, Hirose has been active in the free jazz and improvised music scenes as a sax player. Since the early '80s, he has also been playing his self-made sound instruments (SSI), the noise instruments he makes by setting up household objects and odds and ends on tables. As of now there are nine SSIs (SSI 1 to SSI 9).

Jojo Hiroshige
JojoHiroshige Jojo Hiroshige was born in Kyoto in 1959. He formed the improvisational punk unit, Ultra Bide in 1978, and the seminal Hijokaidan in 1979. Radical live noise performances made Hijokaidan well-known in the world as one of the oldest noise bands. He started music label Alchemy Records in Osaka in 1984, and released many titles of unique bands such asHijokaidan, Incapacitants, Merzbow, Massona etc. Jojo is still continuing live performance in Hijokaidan,solo and collaboration sessions.

Takashi Makino
TakashiMakino After graduating from the Cinema Department of the Nihon University College of Art in 2001, Makino went to London to apprentice under the Quay Brothers. He then travelled Japan working in stage lighting. In 2002 he began working as a telecine colorist, and in 2004 he started organizing film screenings. Makino later went on to win the Tiger Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam. His spirited works have found success at many international film, music, and arts festivals. Makino continues to produce work that contains extremely experimental elements and a deep sense of abstraction, while still communicating to his audiences the various stories he has to tell.

Sudarshan Chandra Kumar
SudarshanChandraKumar Sudarshan Chandra Kumar has performed for the CHOPPA Music Fest (Singapore), Playfreely (Singapore), Switch On (Malaysia) and KLEX Festival (Malaysia). He participates in Serious Play Improv Lab (SPIL; 2014-2016) regularly, a monthly experimental music series in Kuala Lumpur. Sudarshan has contributed vocals and live electronics to the following bands: HKPT, Takdir, Sorry and Think!Tadpole!Think!. Working with music for theatre, he is the music facilitator for Main Wayang (2015-2016), a children's theatre workshop which emphasizes on the basics for orchestrating D.I.Y multimedia performances and has directed and scored music for his musical "The Propitiation of Fundamentals" (2015).

An Murazato
AnMurazato Born in 1994, An Murazato is from Omuta City, in the Southern prefecture of Fukuoka. In 2009 she joined noise group Denshi Takujyo Ongakudan and now performs under the name Denshi Takuan. Since 2010 she is the drummer for junk-post-punk band Hakuchi. In 2011 she formed TOKOTOKOTONNTOKO'S and participated in L'Expérience japonaise held in Marseille, France in 2013. Other projects include solo with sampler and keyboard and two-piece band Kawaite Nodo.

Senyawa Jogjakarta's Senyawa embodies the aural elements of traditional Indonesian music whilst exploring the framework of experimental music practice, pushing the boundaries of both traditions. Their music strikes a perfect balance between their avant-garde influences and cultural heritage to create truly contemporary Indonesian new music.
Their sound is comprised of Rully Shabara's deft extended vocal techniques punctuating the frenetic sounds of instrument builder, Wukir Suryadi's modern-primitive instrumentation. Inventions like his handcrafted 'Bamboo Spear'; a thick stem of bamboo strung up with percussive strips of the animal skin alongside steel strings. Amplified it fuses elements of traditional Indonesian instrumentation with garage guitar distortion. Sonically dynamic, the instrument can be rhythmically percussive on one side whilst being melodically bowed and plucked on the other.
In 2011 they were invited to perform internationally for the first time at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival sharing the stage with many great musicians such as Faust, Tony Conrad and Charlemagne Palestine, launching them onto the international stage.
Since then they have gone on to perform at MONA FOMA Festival in Tasmania, the Adelaide Festival with Korean singer Bae Il Dong, toured as special guests of Australian supergroup Regurgitator, they have also performed at the Malmo Sommarscen Festival in Sweden, Salihara Literature Festival in Jakarta, Art Basel Switzerland, Café Oto in London, Cyptic Festival Glasgow, MONA FOMA Festival in Tasmania, Copenhagen Jazz House Denmark, Resonate Festival Belgrade Serbia, CTM Festival in Berlin, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, UNSOUND Festival Poland, Clandestino Festival in Norway and Oct Loft Jazz Festival in China.
They have collaborated and performed with many notable musicians such Yoshida Tatsuya, Otomo Yoshihide, Lucas Abela, KK Null, Keiji Haino, Rabih Beiani, Melt Banana, Jon Sass, Damo Suzuki, Jerome Cooper, Oren Ambarchi, David Shea and Kazu Ushihashi. In 2012 they completed a film in collaboration with French filmmaker Vincent Moon.

Dharma Shan
DharmaShan Best known as the former guitarist of Singapore out-rock group The Observatory, Dharma was with the band for the first 7 albums. His initial approach stems from guitar experimentations with effects and later on incorporating objects to bring it to a grittier, mystical and industrial-esque sonic dimension. Dharma's solo practice, which came to fore with his 2013 solo debut, Intergranular Space, has opened up new vistas for his guitar work. Using prepared and extended techniques, his guitar no longer just plays notes and chords, but conjures forth colours, textures and even beats.

dj sniff
djsniff dj sniff (Takuro Mizuta Lippit) is a musician and curator in the field of experimental electronic arts and improvised music. His musical work builds upon a distinct practice that combines DJing, instrument design, and free improvisation. He has performed internationally at various venues and festivals around the world, and has released 12 DJ mixes and 4 albums, which includes collaborations with Evan Parker, OtomoYoshihide, Martin Tetreault, and Paul Hubweber. His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, All About Jazz, The WIRE, and MusicWorks. During his appointment as Artistic Director of STEIM (2007 - 2012) in Amsterdam, he curated and produced over 100 projects including large-scale international festivals and award winning art works. Since 2012, he is based in Hong Kong where he is Visiting Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media CityU HK, and is Co-Director of Ensembles Asia / Asian Music Network.

Tara Transitory
TaraTransitory Tara Transitory aka One Man Nation makes work which some consider art, some consider music and some consider trash. But clearly, it never quite fits into contemporary categories. She is trans, nomadic and is exploring the intersections of gender, noise and ritual through performance and the collective trance.
She splits her time between asia<>europe where she directs the International //gender|o| noise\\ Underground and organizes the trans*queer themed Translæctica events. Currently she is working on a video-art piece based on ephemeral public interventions she does with other trans* women in south-east asia.
Tara performs solo as One Man Nation, with Truna as {23 Shadows of Amnesia} and with Pierre Bastien as Mecanation. She has collaborated extensively and her past collaborations include BambuWukir, Hilary Jeffrey, Iman Jimbot, Richard Scott and Vincent Moon; has performed internationally at Club Transmediale (Berlin), donaufestival (Krems), GaiteLyrique (Paris), Guggenheim Museum (Bilbao), ISEA (Ruhr), Museum of Contemporary Art (Taipei), Sonic Protest (Paris) and Steirischer Herbst (Graz) amongst many others.

Vivian Wang
VivianWang Classically trained pianist Vivian Wang diverged from much of her formal training when she started avant rock outfit The Observatory in 2001. A TV Producer-Presenter for arts and travel documentaries as well as a film music supervisor, Vivian has focused solely on music, performance and interdisciplinary work since 2008. Vivian performs on synth, keyobaord, voice and percussion. Vivian tags Alice Coltrane, Robert Wyatt, Mark Hollis, Bill Evans and Annapurna Devi as her all time favourite musical heroes.

Otomo Yoshihide
OtomoYoshihide Born in 1959 in Yokohama, Japan. As a teenager, he spent time in Fukushima. Staying independent, he has consistently composed a wide range of music from improvisation to noise music and pop, and his music talent has spread all over the world. He has a successful career as a film score composer and has produced more than 70 movie soundtracks. In recent years, he has produced special type of concerts and musical works in collaboration with other various artists under the name of "ensembles". In addition, one of his priorities is producing musical workshop projects involving handicapped children. In 2011, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, he started "PROJECT FUKUSHIMA!" along with people in various sectors. He has been active beyond the music scene and this is the reason that he has attracted a great deal of attention. In 2012, he received the Minister of Education Award for Fine Arts in the category of Promotion for"PROJECTFUKUSHIMA!" In 2013, he received various prizes including the Japan Record Award for his accomplishments, such as composing the theme music for the TV drama "Amachan".

C. Spencer Yeh
C. Spencer Yeh C. Spencer Yeh is recognized for his interdisciplinary activities and collaborations as an artist, improviser, and composer, as well his music project Burning Star Core. Recent presentations of work include "Modern Mondays" at MoMA NYC, "Sound Horizon" at the Walker Art Center Minneapolis MN, "Ed Atkins: Performance Capture" at the Kitchen NYC, "The Companion" at the Liverpool Biennial, "99 Objects" at the Whitney Museum NYC, "Great Tricks From Your Future" at D-CAF in Cairo Egypt, Borderline Festival in Athens Greece, Kinomuzeum at Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw Poland, All Ears Festival in Oslo Norway, the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, the Lausanne Underground Film and Music Festival, and LAMPO at the Renaissance Society in Chicago IL. Yeh also collaborated with Triple Canopy for their contribution to the Whitney Biennial in 2014. He was a 2015 Artist-in-Residence at ISSUE Project Room NYC, and was included in the performance program for Greater New York at MoMA/PS1.
Recent recordings include "Solo Voice I-X" (Primary Information), "Wake Up Awesome", with Okkyung Lee and Lasse Marhaug (Software Recording Company), and "Long Pig" by New Monuments, his trio with Ben Hall and Don Dietrich (Bocian).
Yeh also volunteers as a programmer and trailer editor for Spectacle Theater, a microcinema in Brooklyn NY. His video works are distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix. He is also a contributing editor to Triple Canopy and BOMB magazine, as well as contributing to The Third Rail and Personal Best.

Yuen Chee Wai
YuenCheeWai Singapore-based musician, artist and designer, Yuen Chee Wai's improvisational work explores relationships between sound, image and word. In 2008 together with fellow musicians Otomo Yoshihide (Japan), Ryu Hankil (Korea) and Yan Jun (China), they formed FEN (Far East Network) - an improvisational music quartet focused on cross-disciplinary collaborations within Asia. Yuen is the Co-Director of Ensembles Asia / Asian Music Network, which presents the Asian Meeting Festival annually in Japan. Being firmly plugged in Southeast Asia, he has been able to successfully bridge numerous new collaborations with musicians from Southeast Asia with others from around the world. Yuen is also a key member of avant/experimental rock band The Observatory (Singapore), with whom he plays guitar, synth and electronics. The Observatory runs an initiative called Playfreely, which focuses on collaborations between musicians of different styles and genres, traditional and experimental, coming together in an intensive environment, to workshop and produce new and interesting work. With 7 albums to date, The Observatory continues to perform and tour worldwide.