Agencement ‘Viosphere’


01 [untitled track #1] (20:23)
02 [untitled track #2] (20:15)

Total time 40:38
CD released by Pico, Pico-03, 1991

Japanese Hideaki Shimada (b1962) started adding electronic effects, ring modulator and analog rerecording technique to his violin improvisations in the mid-1980s, self-releasing his first LP under the Agencement tag in 1986. There is at least one other japanese player in the same field of electronicaly enhanced violin I can think of, namely Takehisa Kosugi (the violin player in legendary Group Ongaku and Taj Mahal Travellers), whose solo music explores the violin extended technique and electronic effects, especially on ‘Catch Wave’, 1974. All Agencement’s albums were independently released by Shimada on his own Pico label. Agencement is a french word meaning ‘set-up’ and can refer to furniture, objects or lay-out configurations. ‘Viosphere’ is not a common french word and is possibly a portmanteau blending the two words biosphere and violin, an appropriate tag for Shimada’s sonic universe. While the A side from Agencement’s 1st LP is a 20-mn solo violin improvisation recorded on cassette without electronics (excerpts and info here), all other Agencement’s releases are electroacoustic violin endeavours. His live performances consist of amplified violin running through ring modulators and effects while his studio recordings are more elaborated electroacoustic installments. On ‘Viosphere’, Agencement’s insect-like violin playing deploys a forest of pizzicati, scrapings and various extended technique tricks for what ultimately sounds like ants attacking a violin’s carcass. Build on rerecording, long delay echo and electronic treatment, his minimal, complex stochastic compositions incorporate echoes of aleatoric and Systems music as well as Fluxus concept pieces. But his amiable, ornate style has something unique, a baroque touch unheard in Fluxus before him. Note the 2 untitled tracks are obviously LP side length as if CD was a mere after-thought – I like the idea. Shimada has a new trio album out in 2008 (‘Gambetta’) and performs live in duos with japanese cellist Mori-shige as well as Tokyo-based Korean guitarist Katsuyoshi Kou [+].


Agencement cassette C30, no label, 1984
Agencement LP, Pico-01, 1986, 300 ex.
Agencement LP, Pico-02, 1989, 300 ex.
Agencement ‘Viosphere’ CD, Pico-03, 1991, 500 ex.
Agencement ‘Boxe Consonantique’, CD, Pico-04, 2001, 700 ex. (excerpt here)
Hideaki Shimada w/ Kiyoshi Mizutani and Kiyoharu Kuwayama ‘Gambetta’ CD, Monochrome Vision, 2008

3 Responses to “Agencement ‘Viosphere’”

  1. 1 p January 1, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    thanks for all the great stuff you’ve put up here
    do you want agencement’s two LPs? I’ll send you the links if you want to put them up here

  2. 2 continuo January 1, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Please do! I’ve been trying to find them for sooo long. If it’s not on a blog already it would sure make for a great post on Continuo. Reach me at:
    teepeesfrp [at] yahoo [dot] fr
    Thanks for dropping by, P. By the way, I’d also be interested to hear some of your own music and releases.

  3. 3 twinkle March 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Just discovered this. Wonderful stuff!

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