Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Ikuro Takahashi, Ikuro Takehashi, Sean Meehan & Tamio Shiraishi

Shadowed Spaces Glasgow


13 Jul 2007  •  Under the M74 Ski Jump / Extension Ramp, Glasgow

We arranged for BBC Radio Scotland to come and record a performance by Sean Meehan, Tamio Shiraishi and Ikuro Takehashi under the M74 'Ski Jump' extension ramp, a secion of motorway that doesn't go anywhere, one of several such structures that populate the motorway system in the centre of Glasgow. Many of these have since been disguised (built on) and re-integrated (as cycle paths).

The recording engineers set up their kit and Sean and Tamio and Takehashi performed. Then the guy from BBC came up and said: 'When are they going to sound check?' And we said; Eh, they've been performing for half an hour already. They asked, 'Could they do it again?' 'No', said Sean, 'that would be a little insincere'. 

Sean Meehan is an NYC based drummer who has gradually pared down his kit to a single snare. From it he conjures held pitches of astonishing purity by placing cymbals on the drumhead and gently sounding their surfaces, or maybe he conjures his tones via some form of alchemy; god knows as it certainly doesn’t sound anything like a snare drum. This might sound highly technical I guess, and it is; but more importantly, I think Sean’s work is some of the most radical and beautiful music you could experience: brave, spartan, a slow motion ritual of intensity and concentration.


Tamio Shiraishi is a Japanese sax player, now based in NYC.  An original member of Keiji Haino’s ferocious Fushitsusha project, where he played drums and synth, Shiraishi’s drift towards the sax sits way outside most free or avant garde conceptions; instead of loud iron lung blasts of noise, Tamio bites down hard and coaxes tones that resemble the internal head-rush of breath on a cold morning, the far off gurgling of streams, or piercing bird calls, that seem to emanate from between your ears.  Tamio has often played in unusual outdoor locations, in Berlin and Tokyo as well as in the USA.


Ikuro Takahashi might be a familiar name to some for his role as drummer/percussionist with many of the most notable Japanese underground acts of the past 25 years (High Rise, Kosokuya, Fushitsusha, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, LSD March to name but a few). On Domori to Sanshu he presents another look into his long running work with electronics. The two tracks on the CD consist of a live performance for oscillators and percussion followed by a computer composition in which Takahashi uses techniques of layering, looping and stretching sources to create immersive fields of sound. The live piece adds some space defining percussion for a brief temporal anchor before enveloping you once again in the high end chatter of up to 100 tiny oscillators. The computer piece by contrast offers no such reference points, instead leaving the listener submerged in a low end organic rumble that manages by turns to be both soothing and disorienting.


Denis Wood is a geographer and map theoretician. His early work was in psycho-geography as developed by geographers and city planners in New England in the 1960s. His path-breaking dissertation was called I Don’t Want To, But I Will (1973). It was during this time that he wrote the papers “Shadowed Spaces” and “In Defense of Indefensible Space.” Later he taught at the College of Design at North Carolina State University and at Duke University. He’s now best known for The Power of Maps which demystified maps (1992); Home Rules, about culture, family, and living rooms (1994); Five Billion Years of Global Change (2004); Seeing Through Maps (2001, 2006); and Making Maps (2005).