The 1st of May was a fine day to bring out a record.…
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Doravideo is a project that mixes music and video. Attached to a set of drums, sensors transmit a different message to the computer according to which piece is hit : for example, the big drum will play a video, the snare drum will play it backwards with the cymbals fast-forwarding it, etc... The audience hear both the sound of the drums and the original film soundtrack directly reworked using techniques some of which are inherited from hip hop.
Doravideo is the solo project of Yoshimitsu Ichiraku, born in 1959 in Yamaguchi prefecture, 1000 km away from Tokyo. As a child, Ichiraku secretly listens to The Doors and Led Zeppelin under the sheets of his bed, afraid that his parents might think he'd turned into some kind of Hell's Angels/ juvenile delinquent. In the early nineties Ichiraku plays music in, before starting to collaborate with many Japanese and Western artists such as Otomo Yoshihide, Haco, Pascal Comelade, Eugene Chadbourne, Gong, Kevin Ayers, Keiji Haino, Kazuhisa Uchihashi... In 1996 he joins the Choi Song Bae Trio from Korea, then becomes a regular member of Omoide Hatoba (along with Yamamoto Seiichi) and I.S.O. (with Yoshihide Otomo et Sachiko M.) and joins Acid Mothers Temple for their 2001 US and UK tour.
After that he tours the world as All Asian Traditional Pop Orchestra, a solo drum unit (!) which he later decides to upgrade with video. A helpless TV addict fascinated with electromagnetic waves produced by the quick change of channels he decides to add video to his performance "just to make things funnier". Programmer Takayuki Ito designs for him a software to match his needs : first "Paradrum", then "Doravideo" in 2004. This name derives from "Doraemon", a manga character from the 50s who's become a true icon of Japanese pop culture. In the same way Ichiraku loots video material without any regards to copyright laws his hijacking of such an icon comes as a refreshing and vibrant approach in a world of paranoia about sampling, downloading, bootlegging and so on.
Cat-robot Doraemon takes out of his belly pocket an infinite number of zany inventions such as the indoor skiing machine, a door that opens up to any desired place, or seed-grown takeout meals. And thus the "dora" tag in Doravideo betrays Ichiraku's taste for the absurd and the unpredictable, bricolage giving birth to countless surprises and infinite potentialities.
Video samples come from all over and are gathered without any obvious thread running through them industrial films showing salarymen visiting a factory and later getting drunk with ryokan hostesses, excerpts from Kubrick's "Shining", avant-garde music concerts, Japanese variety shows, broadcast of the Emperor on parade. The most delightful moments are perhaps those when the plundering gives birth to the most childish entertainment, like when hard rock band KISS are turned into jerky puppets dancing along to Japanese drums.
Deliberately emphasizing on the show's scabrous, down-market entertaining features, Ichiraku opposes critics considering Doravideo belongs not in clubs but in museums and art galleries, "if only he'd pick his material with better taste". His refusal to be associated with an elitist conception of art notably showed at Ars Electronica Festival 2005, when he did not bother going and receive the Honorary Mention he was awarded!
© 2006 text: Franck Stofer, photo: Albane Laure