tatsuro kojima

16g / Audiobulb Records


The songs on 16g were composed between 2009 and 2011. Each CD comes in a unique package including an individual cover photograph by the artist. A duplicate photograph is matched inside the digipak with a signed and personalised message from Tatsuro. No two packs or messages are the same – they reflect the changing nature of listening experience as sound is recontextualised with every listen.

The artist recorded the album’s environmental sounds in the field steps crunching on ice or snow, and other sounds. Throughout, the album strives to evoke the feel and sensation of paper-thin ice or richly-coloured, yet transparent air.

In the making of this album, I’m indebted to Masahiro Araki, who forgives everything, as well as to Aya Fukaya, for lending me her beautiful voice. I’m also grateful to my fans everywhere – in Japan, Poland, France, Sweden, England, and other countries – the people who continuously support me, the people who give me courage, and lastly the love of my life, who is always there to prevent my becoming a hermit in my room, and who inspires countless new and beautiful feelings. Thank you so much.



  1. 0002
  2. Hidden
  3. Composition3
  4. 16g
  5. Out Noise
  6. 0818
  7. 0504
  8. Room
  9. Inside and Outside
  10. 043 fredricson mix
  11. Composition6

Credits:  043 fredricson mix: mixed by fredricson | Out Noise: voice performance by Aya Fukaya | Composition:  Tatsuro Kojima | Artwork: Tatsuro Kojima

Released by:  Audiobulb Records
Release date:  Feb 6, 2012

More details:  http://www.audiobulb.com/albums/AB039/AB039.htm




As digital music is steadily gaining ground, CD sales have been increasingly declining in the past few years in the same way as sales of vinyls and cassettes slumped when CDs were first introduced, but some record labels are still willing to commit to the format and dare investing into special projects. One such project is the new album from Japanese sound artist, graphic and web designer and mobile app developer Tatsuro Kojima, whose album 16g is being released by the excellent Audiobulb in an extremely limited run (50 copies), each CD housed in a unique, hand-made packaging, which counts an individual cover photo, a duplicate of which can be found inside, with at its back, a personal handwritten message, in Japanese, from Kojima. The picture is also numbered and signed.

The music is equally as delicate and artisanal. Kojima works from field recordings, primarily recordings of footsteps in the snow or on ice, upon which he layers gossamer themes, fragile sonic structures built from a pool of rich acoustic sounds and chimes, and tainted with subtle and elegant electronics. There are no set forms or patterns here, instead Kojima makes use of his vast palette with extreme care, at times favouring light shimmering formations (16g, 0818, Inside And Outside), at others opting for earthier tones (Hidden, Out Noise, 0504, Room) or textured drones (0002, Composition6)

Kojima often blurs the boundaries between acoustic sounds, electronics and field recordings to creates his soundscapes, but, either in their raw natural or processed state, it is their inherent refined aspect that he seeks here. Whether he sets up to develop a defined melodic line and give a piece a clear path or settles for much more fluid and ephemeral constructions, Kojima’s sonic miniatures are intricately woven self-contained pieces which, like the packaging, never seem to sound exactly the same twice. Despite their relative diversity in terms of style and approach, there is an impression of unity which runs through the whole record. It is at times as if Kojima was aiming to create a set of similar ideas using very different components and processes. Whilst this certainly keeps the mind alert, it also creates a false impression of continuity which, ultimately, results in 16g feeling extremely fleeting and dreamy all the way through.

With this album, Tatsuro Kojima has created a rather wonderfully evocative piece which, while making very good use of field recordings, relies on the very nature of the music and on the soundscapes used to achieve this. Its extreme fragility is perhaps made even more potent by the rarity of its physical presence, and by the uniqueness of each of the CD produced.



Like many a label, Audiobulb is devising innovative strategies to make its physical products more valuable and distinctive. In the case of Japan-based Tatsuro Kojima’s 16g, that means adorning the cover of each CD release with an individual cover photograph by Kojima and including a duplicate photo within the packaging that includes a signed and personalized message from the artist. Put simply, each physical CD is unique.

Of course the release has more going for it than the presentation concept. It’s very much in the tradition of delicate moodscaping of the kind we’ve come to expect from Japanese artists associated with Schole and other such labels. Field recordings figure prominently in the hour-long recording, while piano, vibraphone, harp, synthetic sounds, and glitchy textures recur within its eleven electro-acoustic meditations, which Kojima composed between 2009 and 2011. Airy, multi-hued, and translucent by design, the settings are intricate and densely detailed affairs, comprised as they are of tinkling musical fragments and textural micro-slivers (consider the abundance of creaks and whirrs pulsing through the otherwise glimmering “Composition3” as one example of many).

“0002” establishes the relaxed tone of the album in pairing atmospheric vibes accents and drones with the crunch of footsteps trudging through snow-covered fields (a sound that re-emerges in the penultimate “043 Fredricson Mix”). The addition of Aya Fukaya’s breathy voice (even if reduced to a series of wave-like stutters) to “Out Noise” lends the glitch-heavy piece a distinguishing character that separates it from the others; “0818” likewise stands out for the bright vibraphone accents that resonate alongside the track’s textural interplay. The album reaches its fullest culmination in the closing piece, “Composition6,” an almost twelve-minute setting that unites the various strands of Kojima’s sound world into a single, vibrant dreamscape. Text accompanying the release notes that Kojima aspired in the recording to “evoke the feel and sensation of paper-thin ice or richly-coloured, yet transparent air,” and in this regard 16g clearly succeeds.



Japanese ambient, electronic and experimental musicians have a cunning skill at bringing inanimate objects to life. Perhaps it is the traditional roots of Shinto and Buddhism that reveal a presence and being in each and every thing. The fact that on a subatomic level, every living thing shares the same particles with non organic form. Through music, the artist is then able to turn into a shaman and let the objects sing their story. This is at least the thought that floats across my mind when I listen to Tatsuro Kojima‘s debut release, 16g.

For the album, Kojima collects eleven tracks that were composed between 2009 and 2011, each comprised of field recordings and environmental sounds, manipulated into thin layer of crackling micro sound. Diluted to its bare minimalism, the white noise washes and static crinkles are the remnants of the melting snow, newly formed ice, and brisk chilly air. In the foreground of the music are the notes of a sparkling piano, vibraphone and plucked strings, dancing on a surface of the luminous water, like a sun ray on a frozen lake. Glitchy vocals (by Aya Fukaya) break through the crispy coating and quiver with the stuttering texture of sound.

The artist recorded the album’s environmental sounds in the field steps crunching on ice or snow, and other sounds. Throughout, the album strives to evoke the feel and sensation of  paper-thin ice or richly-coloured, yet transparent air.

Each limited edition of the album comes with a unique cover photograph by the artist. A signed copy of the photo with a personalized message from Kojima is included inside the digipack, rendering each copy of the album truly unique. Easily falling into a catalog of organic minimalism from 12k records, this album is nevertheless released on David Newman’s Audiobulb Records, propelling the Sheffield based curator even further onto the stage of established experimental, micro-tonal and electro-acoustic labels. Thank you for your very personal touch!



Tatsuro Kojima has been preparing his debut album for over two years, during which time he has also been busy designing websites and mobile apps. The digital world is thus his natural biotope, one which he wisely aerates with the warm tones of piano, chimes and the silky voice of Aya Fukaya (though on “Out Noise,” he picks it apart with surgical unsentimentality).

For 16g has sharp corners, razor-thin edges and taut wires that require some soft undergrowth. It spends much of its time slicing through the air at a relatively high frequency, though Kojima exercises keen restraint. On “Hidden,” he makes a jungle full of exotic birds twirp and squawk. He drapes curtains of static over the looping chime of ”0504.” And he ties firefly knots in the air on ”Room.” A toy piano solos on “0808,” the most straightforward and emotionally appealing track, which I believe is derived from one of the apps he created.

It may sound cliché but whole album seems cognate to the Japanese paper arts (underscored by the fact that each of the fifty, limited-edition compact discs comes with a personalized cover)—the rustle of rice paper, folding of origami, the brush of the calligrapher on mulberry paper.

The overall effect might have benefited by editing down the hour-long playing time because eventually, all the high tones begin to tickle the ear a little unpleasantly. But the best pieces are intriguing insights into a post-glitch aesthetic.



Tatsuro Kojima—no relation to Metal Gear Soldcreator Hideo—is a games developer who just published sound app Mizuiro. Basically a way of making your iPhone sound like an old dusty toy piano, it’s got to be the quaintest music app around; one you could safely take to a baby shower. Clearly intrigued by the nano end of the listening spectrum, Kojima’s made a whole album of it, 16g, on which he aims to encourage sensations of “paper-thin ice or richly-coloured, yet transparent air.” This way’s cheaper than a smoke machine.

Working with recordings of trodden snow and suzu bells—and not much else—Kojima’s world is delicate, where you’re almost too scared to turn up the tracks in case they shatter. “0818” is his most fragile, sounding like a doorbell on a wrecked ship, overpowered by straining wood. Chimes and wrinkles knock against each other, and if only a few more electronics were involved it’d sound exactly like Xela before he got religion. There aren’t, and Kojima does his own thing, making music so peripheral distant fairy lights could dwarf it. If that wasn’t interesting enough, purchasers of 16g are promised two Polaroids, each signed with a hand-written message. So you’re not just getting music but a ransom.