Photo: Bryony Mcintyre

Marginal Consort

Durational group-mind drone and clatter: bamboo, electronics, the contents of your local ironmongers bin. A 3-hour set from this legendary Japanese improvisation group; all students of Takehisa Kosugi at the radical Bigaku school of aesthetics in Tokyo in the 70’s.


Formed around one of our favourite musicians, Kazuo Imai, (a student of Japanese Free Jazz linchpin Masayuki Takayanagi and one time member of both Taj Mahal Travellers and Takayanagi’s New Direction Unit), the group is a reformation of the East Bionic Symphonia who released an incredible long-form drone record in the early 80’s.  Brought back together in the 90’s, the group now features Tomonao Koshikawa, Kei Shii, and sound-artist Masami Tada. Their extended sets explore forms of sound and ways of playing that never coalesce into music, but create a group dynamic of ebb and flow, of exploration and fluidity.  Two of our favourite Japanophiles – Chris Bohn and Alan Cummings (both of the Wire) – saw these guys play in Japan last Christmas and brought back tales of an incredible performance, of time stood still; bamboo as percussion, drone and clatter as detail. Yasushi Ozawa (bass player in Fushitsusha), a member of the group unfortunately passed away before making the trip to Glasgow. The performance was dedicated to him and a table was set for him in the performance space in his honour.


The recordings of this unique and mind-blowing set were released as four LP's by PAN records in 2013 and launched at an event at the South London Gallery. More about the release here.

  • Video Clip 1

  • Video Clip 2

  • Extract

    Marginal Consort intro - Kazuo Imai

    The participants place themselves far apart in order to clarify their respective methods and enlarge their performance areas. This called for a big space with a flat floor. When people think of improvisation, which is made up of sounds, they think of playing music. But the activity that takes place here is not limited to playing. There are sounds, for instance, that result from certain actions, and actions that do not have sound production as their object.