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大友良英

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Biography

Otomo Yoshihide (大友良英, born August 1, 1959 in Yokohama) is a musician. He is a turntablist and guitarist.

Otomo played in rock bands while at college, but turned to improvisation after discovering free jazz and free improvisation musicians like the guitarist Derek Bailey, the saxophonist Kaoru Abe and guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi (from whom he had lessons).

Otomo studied at the Meiji University from 1979 where he took a course on ethnomusicology in which he concentrated on Japanese pop music during World War II and the development of musical instruments during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (samples of instruments and music from this period are found in several of his records). From 1981 Otomo played free improvisation in clubs, performing on guitar and also using tapes and electronics.

Otomo began to release records from the end of the 1980s. He has been very prolific, working in a variety of styles and collaborating with a range of musicians. For much of the 1990s his main project was Ground Zero, a large group founded in 1990 with an ever-changing lineup. They played music in a variety of styles, perhaps best summed up as with an experimental edge: in Consume Red (1997), for example, a sample of Korean musician Kim Suk Chul playing the hojok (a reed instrument) is continuously repeated throughout the single hour-long track while the band imporovise around it, becoming louder, and eventually swamping the sample out.

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