Photo: Bryony McIntyre

Denis Wood, Ikuro Takahashi, Sean Meehan & Tamio Shiraishi

Shadowed Spaces Newcastle


12 Jul 2007  •  A concrete walkway ending in mid air, Newcastle

Location: A concrete walkway ending in mid air, a ridiculously tight squeeze between three office buildings and various other sites of Labour politician and council leader T. Dan Smith’s modernist regeneration projects and ‘slum clearances’ of the 1950’s and 60’s. 

A rendezvous location in a city centre location, a short walk from where the performance will take place. Once gathered we’ll wander down to the spot we think might be interesting. En route or once we get there you’ll be introduced to Denis Wood, our resident psychogeographer, who’ll give you some food for thought before the performances begin. In some towns we’ll move on to a second location for further performances.


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).


Two members of the audience were given audio recorders with a set of binaural microphones hacked into a set of headphones to record their experience of the event. In Newcastle, thanks to Jazzfinger and Ian for doing this; hear their recordings below.
  • Audio - Recorded by Jazzfinger

  • Audio - Psychogeography Chat

  • Audio - Performances

  • Audio - Recorded by Ian

  • Tamio's Song