HOKANE is a collection of musical and visual short stories, written, performed, and drawn by Aki Tsuyuko. This is the first in a series of books that Thrill Jockey will be releasing, with upcoming artists in the series including Daniel Higgs and Thomas Campbell. The books were produced with the help of JNL Graphic Design, producers of the catalogs for Chicago’s Renaissance Society.
“Though I wasn’t conscious of it when I was making these tracks, I got the impression that this album was like a collection of short stories when listened to the all tracks completed,” says Tsuyuko. “I love to see musical score from my childhood. I just enjoy looking at the structure and form of the music as a visual element. I feel that it is beautiful.
“The drawings for the book came to my mind while listening to each track; I collected and compiled them with the hand drawn score into this book,” explains Tsuyuko. “Then musical notes acted as words in the story. I wasn’t conscious of it when I was making these tracks, but when I listened to all of the tracks completed, I got the impression that this album was like a collection of short stories by music.”
Tsuyuko was born in Gifu, Japan, in 1974. She began taking electronic organ lessons when she was a child – one of the images in Hokane is a picture of a young Aki playing organ. “I think that everything I have experienced growing up in Japan is somehow an element of my music,” she says. In addition to her organ studied she practiced the classical Japanese dance “Nihon-buyo” lessons for 15 years. “I could not find very much pleasure in it, although I had been doing it for such a long time and grown to be skilled in the craft. I was excited by the movements of modern ballet, similar to the way that I had more interest in piano pieces than electronic organ ones. However I think that the long experience of Nihon-buyo and electronic organ together influenced how I play and write music.”
In her late teens, Tsuyuko discovered and was influenced by Eric Satie’s piano pieces. She began to play these pieces on electronic organ, interpreting them in her own way. It was through this process that Tsuyuko got into her own music and composition.
In the mid 90’s, she sent her music to Nobukazu Takemura, which lead to release of her music and years of collaboration between the two musicians. Tsuyuko has performed around the world singing and playing keyboards, and also creating video art and clay animation for their performances. Aki Tsuyuko has performed with Tortoise, Sonic Youth, Jim O’Rourke, Brokeback, Yo La Tengo, and Arto Lindsay.
Hokane is a 48 page 4-color 6x8" hardbound book and is printed in a strict limited edition run of 2,000.