Sympathy Nervous

Sympathy Nervous

  • 1979

  • Japan

  • Yosihumi Niinuma

“I was born in 1955.
I was a boy who liked classical music and electronic handicraft.
After that I met up with German Experimental Rock.
It was a beginning of my musical activity.
I recorded Polaroid in 1980 in the living room of a Tokyo apartment house with my brother on vocals.
It was my debut song released by the Japanese label Vanity Records.
In the 90s, I changed my musical form to TECHNO. And now, I am a Theremin maker.”
-Yosihumi Niinuma

From ROCK MAGAZINE, special thanks to Sam for this translation:

“Sympathy nervous” comes from the sympathetic nervous system – I basically took the word ‘sympathetic’ and switched it with ‘sympathy.’ I wrote a multiplex piece called “Electric Nervous” under my own one-man-band, so it’s related to that work as well.

I think it’s going towards a direction where I can just let myself free to electronics. Rather than taking control of them, I’m allowing my body to assimilate with the devices. In the end, I’m going to be the one caught in its pace, with very little area for me to direct. I’m also considering giving them a little more of that ‘dubbed’ touch. I can take sounds that have been pre-recorded, and process them, like picking up drum gates - just an idea.

The reason it takes over five hours to set up is because all of our synthesizers’ modules are separate.  I take and control each part with a UCG - “Universal Character Generator.” I actually gave it that name myself. There are a lot of people using this technique elsewhere, but it hasn’t been systemized as a popular method here in Japan so I just call it that. In the end, I’m taking everything that used to be done by human hands – like giving it a vibrato or adding sounds – and automating it with a clock. Our system’s going to continue growing like plants! I can take my computer and do some lengthy programming, and even clean my echoes. But with the system we have right now, we have to go on connecting each line. Since it takes four or five wires for each module, it’d take up to 70 to 100 wires to do all songs. That’s why the set up takes so long, although of course it’s mostly about getting used to it. I’ll just have to come up with something more efficient.

I want to pursue a plant-root like growth. But if I were going to focus more on shows, there’s a lot to give up - obviously I’d prefer to carry around fewer equipments.  I also don’t want to depend too much on cassettes, because in the end, our performance could be degraded down to simply playing tapes on stage. I’d rather center our activity on recordings, using oscillators and filters to create live sounds of that moment.