Name: Il Grand Silenzio
What: Duo of
When I last saw them: At loop-line, 2010/12/26, at a Madoka Kono organized concert
Banjo (Minoru Sato) and machine (Atuso Ogawa) duo Il Grand Silenzio is a mysterious musical creature. Ogawa-san's banjo playing is incredibly sparse - he typically plays the same four notes at a few bpms worth of tempo for an entire 40 min. plus performance.
Sato-san's machine is a kind of home-made player piano device - a roll of paper circulates slowly through a device with 5 hanging metal contacts. The paper insulates the contacts from making a circuit with 5 metal strips below. By punching holes in the paper, a temporary contact is created. Ogawa connects small motors to this system and punches holes in the paper to create a composition in real-time. When a hole in the paper passes through the device, the motor is set off - temporarily jangling a piece of metal or an empty bottle.
This is a surprisingly good pairing with the Banjo. The result is a sparse soundscape which over time transforms your mental state; I always end up imagining that I'm in a desert littered with metal junk when I see these two play.