by Ricky Haldis
It is always interesting to see dreams come to life, and that will be the exact theme of the night on September 14th at the First Unitarian Church where virtuoso violinist Kaoru Ishibashi will lead his self-produced project, under the pseudonym Kishi Bashi. Kishi Bashi is the brainchild project of Ishibashi, who has come a long way since he began playing guitar in a rock band. After realizing that being in a full band was an unreliable situation, with members being constantly undependable, Ishibashi decided to embrace his musical independence. “I wanted to take charge of my music,” explains Ishibashi. “I don’t want to have to depend on other musicians. I like it to be just me and my violin: entirely independent.”
Kishi Bashi’s touring act, however, involves other musicians, such as a drummer and bassist, who create a canvas on which Ishibashi can let his creativity explode. Kishi Bashi’s live act focuses on Ishibashi’s violin playing, which is played through a loop station, a foot-controlled device which allows him play a phrase on the violin, and repeat it as many times as he likes. Sometimes, a loop station may be triggered incorrectly, and may result in the need to stop the song. Ishibashi basks in the energy of live musical settings that touch on the cliche of ‘catching lightning in a bottle.’
He enthusiastically explains, “Many people in a live setting forget to keep the nature of a live performance. If you want to hear the record, listen to the record. Sometimes, the loop goes wrong, and I’ll have to stop in the middle of a song. The audience actually supports me when that happens; they’ll applaud and encourage me to get it going again.”
Kashi Bashi’s most recent full-length, 151a, captures the essence of spontaneity flawlessly. The title itself derives from a Japanese phrase, which translates into the idea of living for the moment, and staying aware of the present. That energy resonates within 151a, and all of Kishi Bashi’s live performances, and is very present in his audience.
“They love to support me. They are so dedicated, and I’m very thankful for that,” he says. For Ishibashi, 151a, is not only a way to convey his ideas of good energy, but it is a testament to his own upbringing into the world of music. He grew to take inspiration from many classical composers (specifically Tchaikovsky), but references a very diverse pallet of influences, mentioning, “I love simple songs. Stevie Wonder is great, and I love Bob Dylan. Psychedelic rock had a big impact on me. I like to bring those influences to the table because they meant so much to me.”
It is obvious that Kaoru Ishibashi is a man with a dream, who spends his life trying to bring it into reality. As a musician, he understands the impact that his inspired mindset has on his own creativity, his performances, and his fans. Although he is currently on tour, Ishibashi is already producing a new album, and promises a tour to support it in 2014. Clearly, Ishibashi is one of the most passionate musicians around, and even when he is not onstage, he is magnificently sincere. “It inspires me. It inspires me to be able to provoke people with music. That is my inspiration.”gdlr_rp