Novmichi Tosa of Maywa Denki pays a visit to GR2 - めいわでんき

Posted by Eric Brightwell, February 23, 2010 05:01pm | Post a Comment

Novmichi Tosa, the Willy Wonka-like figure like genius behind Maywa Denki made a rare US appearance at GR2 in Little Osaka. They were selling the Otamatone, a new instrument/toy that's sort of like a cross between a đàn bầu and a theremin.

Novmichi Tosa at GR2 

Maywa Denki's so-called Nonsense Objects are kind of like a mix of Harry Partch's instruments, Rube Goldberg's overly elaborate machines, a bit of Kenji Kawakami's absurdist Chindōgu filtered through the utilitarian, mid-century futurist spirit (if not the aesthetic) of prop designer Wah Ming Chang.

After the soft-spoken Toshi san signed autographs and demonstrated the pachi-moku and otamatone with stirring renditions of "Greensleeves" and "Amazing Grace," it was all over and I went outside, where a beaming stranger said to me, "Now my life is complete!" as she proudly clutched her new toy.


What follows is my really... avant-garde version of "아리랑" ("Arirang"). Very dissonant and occasionally atonal. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, "I don't play accurately -- anyone can play accurately -- but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the otamatone is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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Novmichi Tosa (1), Nobumichi Tosa (1), Japanese (9), Harry Partch (4), Rube Goldberg (1), Wah Ming Chang. Kenji Kawakami (1), Pachi-moku (1), Arirang (1), Otamatone (1), Maywa Denki (1), Nonsense Machines (1)