Otomo Yoshihide (*1959) is not just a legendary Japanese guitarist, music composer, turntablist, and a master of free improvisation, but he is also, without a doubt, one of the most important and influential figures on the contemporary music scene, setting the pace since the 1990s not only in terms of the Japanese context. There he belongs to the generation of exceptional and prominent creators among which are for example Merzbow, Keiji Haino, Hoppy Kamiyama, or Tatsuya Yoshida. His ability to embrace basically the whole musical universe rather sets him alongside names such as John Zorn and Mike Patton. Although his music might appear as inherently discrepant and eclectic from the Western perspective, in terms of the Japanese context it is seen as complementary, merging together seemingly incompatible musical approaches. In the 1990s and at the beginning of the new millennium, Otomo Yoshihide ruled the noise rock scene with the Ground Zero project, reaching towards the format of revolutionary Chinese opera or references to the characteristic soundtrack of action films and TV ads jingles. He also showed his talent in instant composition through various collaborations with other creators on the borderlands of noise music, free improvisation (working with names such as Bob Ostertag, Jon Rose, Thurston Moore, and eRikM), and even extremely reduced and quiet sound in projects I.S.O. and Filament. With a slight delay, he confessed his love for jazz, bebop, film scores, or music of Kabuki theatre, to show the roots of his poetics. He leaned towards melodic forms and even started composing dainty film soundtracks. There is practically no area of music that he has not ventured into or a prominent musician that he would not collaborate with. As for the collaborations, here we can mention John Zorn, Christian Fennesz, David Sylvian, and basically everyone who considerably influenced the Japanese underground music scene since the 1980s.
At the moment, Yoshihide also composes big band hits and soap opera scores, but even those demonstrate his immense musical experience and talent for creating intoxicating melodies with artful arrangements even in the context of mass-oriented genres. At the same time, he is still devoted to free improvisation. With his free jazz projects, Yoshihide demonstrates the lively potential of acoustic jazz. He continues to challenge the limits of musical language in the form of solo guitar performances and insane turntablism where not only records, but also the decks and boxes get destructed. The purpose is clear – to reach the edge of sound intensity filtered through the experience of an instant composer and his impressive spontaneity. Otomo Yoshihide easily moves among delicate solos and various musical references to finally overpower the gentle instruments with palisades of thoughtful noise. There is a sense of artful bestiality of a musician that plays with strictly serious face or just a hint of a knowing smile. Now he is here to perform his guitar and turntable solo show.
IQ+1, the prominent representatives of abstract ambient music, bring us an uncompromising electroacoustic report about the vitality of the Czech improvisation scene. After almost six years of experimenting, material collecting, and finding luck in other music projects, IQ+1 collective released its third album titled “Conversaphone Plus” under the Slovak label mappa at the beginning of 2019.