Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Akio Suzuki & John Butcher

Stones of Stenness (Ring of Brodgar)

Due to extreme weather the performance was moved from the advertised Ring of Brodgar to the Stones of Stennes just down the road. These standing stones may be the oldest henge in the British Isles, situated in a similarly exposed and windswept location. 

 

Copy for the planned Ring of Brodgar event:

 

2,500 years old and the largest stone circle in Scotland, this is a profoundly enigmatic monument and an incredibly charged and surprisingly acoustic landscape; the distant echoes of sounds made in just the right spot can set up dizzying, overlapping counterpoints. We’re visiting on the summer solstice, so pack your cagoul or trust in the Orcadian weather and prepare for an experience you’re not likely to forget.

 

Perhaps the most charming, engaging artist I’ve seen, Japanese musician and inventor, instrument builder and shaman Akio Suzuki is probably unknown to most of you. But we think his work is utterly captivating and crucial; it deserves a much bigger audience. Akio has been performing, teaching and building instruments for nearly 40 years. His music is simple and pure, and beautifully unworried by the rules of modern music. He explores nature and how its atmospheres and sounds can be harnessed and then set free, how you can lose yourself in the sound that surrounds us, and how musical creation and beauty exist in all things, in all moments.

 

“I think of Akio Suzuki as a kind of magician” David Toop

“Hearing this music, I remember many things, including playing in a puddle as a tiny kid” Yamatsuka Eye: Boredoms

 

I think John Butcher is the most exciting saxophone player in Europe today. Bent to his will, a saxophone can sound like almost anything. I’d swear that in his playing I’ve heard unbelievable sounds, far beyond any notion of traditional technique: the reverberation of dub like echo, gulps of breath and animal yelps, the clatter and noise of farm machinery or of skittering daisy wheel printers, that internal rush you hear when breathing in cold winter air, trilling gasps of birdcall or moaning train whistles, the far off call of steeple bells. The fact that this teeming and apparently limitless palette is balanced in a way that produces performances of both structure and unpredictability, and that they’re constantly so approachable and engaging is, to be honest, quite staggering.

 

Recordings of the performances from this tour have been released on FtarriConfront and Blume Records. 

 

  • Audio - Barry Esson from Arika Interviewed on Orkney Radio