Drawing on the past

Takahiro Yorifuji, AKA Hakobune, makes music by building harmonic layers of guitar reverb. While the vast sonic landscapes intensify and grow more complex with each layer, they never fail to invoke a state of calm and reflection. Yorifuji's approach to composition is uncomplicated and instinctive, resulting in an organic, undulating aural experience. Like many musicians who lean towards the tranquil nature of the ambient genre, the Tokyo-based musician also likes it ultra fast and super loud with his powerviolence band Whales. Releasing his work in limited batches on various labels like Underground Pollution Records, Dronarivm and Constellation Tatsu, or his personal favourite Whispering In Their Presence, which was originally released on Sunshine Ltd, Yorifuji will sell versions of the sold-out albums on his bandcamp page.

When did you start writing/producing music - and what or who were your early passions and influences?

I started writing music when I was 15 and my early influences were punk rock and hardcore. But I still like loud music. I'm actually also in a powerviolence band called Whales.  

What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?

That would probably be when my friend's album (Nelvoroth's Calm Sky) was released on Scarbox Records, an Italian label. Even though it didn't have anything to do with me directly, it set a series of events in motion for me. I was in a grindcore band with him at the time and not long before that, we were in our hometown of Kasai, which is a beautiful but rural part of Japan. We really didn't have anything to do so we just basically made music all day. And soon after that is when his album was released. So it got me thinking--if he could release something, why shouldn't I? That's when I decided to get serious and eventually got my first show. 

And that first show is probably the second incisive moment for me. It was my first time to play a show by myself. It was at a club called Sunsui in Osaka and I was opening for Merzbow and Jackie-o-motherfucker. I was really nervous about it, but afterwards I got positive feedback and it helped me become more confident musically.  

What are currently your main compositional- and production-challenges?

I think my biggest challenge now is finding the time to compose. I truly enjoy writing music but now I have a full-time job and I play shows on most weekends.  

What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?

I start off by tuning my guitar, sometimes acoustic, sometimes electric, sometimes bass. I don't use a tuner--I just tune it to how I'm feeling at the time. So it's never exactly the same each time.  

How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

For me there isn't really much of a distinction. My usual process is improvising one layer at a time and recording as I go.  

How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?

Hmm... that's a difficult concept for me to explain ... I'll try. When I compose, I try to draw out these little, these almost insubstantial memories and feelings I have from when I was younger. They could be from an experience, or even something I saw like beautiful scenery.  

Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?

That's not something I really think about when I'm making music.  

In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?

I do think a person's culture can have an effect on both their creativity and perception of sound, but it isn't the only thing that affects them. So for example, the Japanese concepts of zen, minimalism, and wabi-sabi have an almost subconscious influence on me but are not the defining factors.  

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