Sawako is a Tokyo/NYC-based sound sculptor who understands the value of dynamics and the power of silence. After beginning in video art, Sawako shifted her focus from the camera to sound. Sawako takes the sounds in everyday life - field recordings, instruments, voice and electronic sounds - and vividly places them in a space of digital, yet organic texture.
She has recently made a name for herself with her own unique combination of field recordings and DSP combined with a noticeably feminine touch. Her 2nd album, "Hum" (12k), is an elegant and detailed work in which she consciously brushes against the fringes of melodies by extracting and processing the sounds of everyday life.
Her releases have been reviewed by The Wire (UK), BlowUp (Italy), e|i magazine (USA), Improvised Music from Japan (Japan) and others, and her unique sonic world has been called "post romantic sound," by Boston's Weekly Dig. Sawako has collaborated with a wide range of musicians such as HYPO, Taku Sugimoto, Toshimaru Nakamura, Taylor Deupree, heller, asuna, Ryan Francesconi and Jacob Kirkegaard, and has performed in Tonic (NYC), Batofar (Paris), offsite (Japan), Resonance FM (London) and other venues in the US, Europe and Japan.
In addition to her sound activities, Sawako delves into the world of custom software for audio/visual performance. Whether as a video artist, exhibiting digital installation pieces or doing commercial interactive work, Sawako's interest in several mediums, and the means of exploring them, is at the root of her multi-disciplined activities.
Sawako - Madoromi - Anticipate 003
released October 2007 - CD / digital
On Sawako's third full-length album, Madoromi, (a Japanese word which loosely translates to the state of being between sleep and waking) she presents a narrative universe of spacey, dreamy in-between-ness which works through the woozy shift of the album's arc - allowing one to emerge at the other end in a physical world decidedly of the present tense. Filled with contrast and dynamics, Madoromi firmly places Sawako at the forefront of the softly colliding aspects of the digital and organic - showing that she manages to hang in the fold between these worlds, and access each with aplomb.
Subtle electronics frame abstracted instrumental source material (vibraphone, guitar, cello, music box) and a variety of real-world sound (random objects, distant, disembodied voices and the occasional presence of Sawako's faintly whispered vocals). With tracks like "Uta Tane" and "Far Away," she highlights the acoustic elements, where editing, bending and stretching - rather than obscure the natural beauty of the sound for the sake of finding something new - help to further bring out the qualities that were quietly hiding beneath the surface. On songs like "Kira Kira" and the album closer, "Tiny Tiny," Sawako uses chimes and tones that twinkle and pop, reminding one of hazy memories recalled through developed and reconfigured memory banks.