In this post, I will write a short recording journal about the concerts I recorded in Japan. I left Japan last month and worked as a sound engineer at the Inryoji Temple, Okayama, from June 2022 to April 2023. I only recorded the concerts, and my significant other was usually present. So, we collected some memories together too. The chief priest was Shinohara-san, one of the best people I have ever met. He organized the concerts and worked as the front-of-house engineer with a great selection of microphones! He also gave me a pair of Schoeps CMC5 mics – so generous! Now, the selected concerts in chronological order:
Akaikutsu (Junpei Kamiya, Akiko Higashikawa): It was the first concert I recorded, and I wrote a few things about it. But now, I must admit that I was so excited! Live situations are a little chaotic for me as I can’t do any planning beforehand. I used the equipment for the first time, and everyone spoke in Japanese; being a foreigner in the countryside is also a little strange… I even messed up in the first mix, and Shinohara-san asked for a revision for the sub-bass. After this concert, I got used to live situations (also with my bass management). Feel free to check my blog post about this concert.
Kunugenchoirai (Choi Jaechol, Genta Fukue, Rai Tateishi): Such fun vibes! Great fusion of world music: Korean drums, Irish guitars, and Japanese flutes! It also had some lively dance performances! I never used it before, but cave reverb funnily worked on this type of music.
Recording Veterans in Inryoji
Surrogate Trio (Tomohiro Yahiro, Gaku Miyata, Atsushi Abe): Real crazy people! They played a few pieces from the Latin Grammy winner Tercer Viaje album. We also had dinner together after the concert! This time, turning off the PA helped us to capture a studio-like sound. Usually, it is a struggle to optimize between live and studio sound in the same setting. Turning off the PA (if the situation permits us to do so) was a massive help in eliminating some unwanted bumps, noises, and limitations of the venue’s acoustics.
Akira Sakata & Kafka’s Ibiki (Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Jim O’Rourke, Eiko Ishibashi): The legendary Sakata-san and Kafka’s Ibiki… Eiko-san has an Oscar, and Jim O’Rourke has a Grammy. This concert was touchy. Some moments were hard to describe. This time, I felt the mixing was just turning up the faders when the composition was well thought out.
Takahiro Arai & U-zhaan: I wasn’t very familiar with Indian traditional music until this concert, but this performance was a joy. One thing I noticed in most recordings of Indian traditional music is that the recordings are done in small rooms, and especially the santoor is recorded at a very close distance. I don’t think that serves well to the instrument since it has a piercing timbre. I’m satisfied with the santoor sound we captured on this.
akiko & Masayasu Tsuboguchi: The last concert I attended… Akiko-san and Tsubo-san were so easy to work with! Although I felt slightly down on my last day, we were still cheered up!