Haco

Sound Design - Corridor

Vocalist/lyricist-composer/electroacoustic performer/sound-artist.
Haco was born in Kobe, Japan, in 1963. At her studio, Mescalina, in Nishinomiya, she has created numerous recordings both as producer and engineer. As a musician and sound-artist, Haco has also given performances and created live installations throughout Japan and the world. With her unique sensibility, Haco has developed her own genre of art based on principles of post-punk, electroacoustics, the avant-garde, improvisation, post-rock, environmental sound, and technology. Haco also frequently lectures, and gives workshops on various sound-related topics.

In the 80s, Haco formally studied acoustics, electronic music, and recording technology. She earned a large following for her recorded work and performances as the composer/lyricist/vocalist of After Dinner (1981-1991), one of the first Japanese indie bands to tour abroad. In 1990, Haco appeared in the film Step Across the Border, a documentary on Fred Frith, which was selected as one of the top 100 films of all time by Cahiers du Cinema. One of Haco’s songs, which she played on piano, was also included in the soundtrack CD. A DVD version of the film was released in 2003.

In the 90s, Haco worked as a sound exhibition and installation curator at Xebec, an innovative hall and presentation space for computer music and sound art, which was profiled by the writer David Toop and others. In 1995, Haco released her first solo album. Around the same time, she began performing improvisations with compact samplers, self-produced electronic units, electric mandolin, percussion and toys along with voice. Her “howling pot” performances, which make creative use of feedback, have been compared to sound art. Since her first solo tour of Europe in 1996, her live performances have been hugely successful at the LMC Festival (London), Le Weekend (Scotland), Vooruit Geluid Festival (Belgium), Isole Che Parlano (Italy), and other events.

In addition, she is involved with the guitar improvisation duo Mescaline Go-Go (Christopher Stephens), the odd-song unit Happiness Proof, and the all-female collaboration Hoahio (Yagi Michiyo: koto, Era Mari: percussion). She has collaborated on recorded work or in performance with numerous musicians, including Ash in the Rainbow (Sakamoto Hiromichi), Yesterday’s Heroes (Terre Thaemlitz), Kam-pas-nel-la (Uchihashi Kazuhisa, Samm Bennett, Zeena Parkins), Peter Hollinger, Pierre Bastien, Carl Stone, Yamamoto Seiichi, Otomo Yoshihide, Ikue Mori, Onda Aki, Martin Tetreault, and Diane Labrosse. Her original style of vocalizing, experimental pop sound and improvisation surpasses conventional genres and national borders, and continues to attract new listeners.

In a sound-art context, Haco established the “sound collection and observation organization,” View Masters, an environmental sound project which seeks to select, extract and define sounds from daily life. In 2002, she began to curate and produce a four-year series of View Masters lectures, concerts and workshops at Aka Rengo Soko (Red Brick Warehouse) in the Osaka Port area. In the first installment, she premiered a performance of “Stereo Bugscope,” which captured oscillating sounds emitted by the circuitry of an electronic device, and thus, established herself in a new genre of art. In 2003, she gave her first performance using the “Pencil Organ,” an instrument created from a home electronics kit that uses test leads (+/-) to produce sound, at the Festival Beyond Innocence in Osaka.