A Festival Of Underground, Experimental & International Music
2 – 5 April 2020
Various Venues Around Glasgow

Dark days are upon us. When violence is perpetuated again and again by authority on the communities it is supposed to serve we need to speak out against it. Counterflows stands in solidarity with black communities fighting against the systemic racism embedded in our societies. We stand beside you in the USA, the UK and around the world and recognise racism as a long-term struggle that we must always challenge every day. If you can make a donation or want to help, here are some useful links from Black Lives Matter

Today we share with you our 5th intervention. We were so excited that Mountain/Full Edition were up for coming to Counterflows 2020 to perform, but alas things took a turn in the wrong direction. Hopefully we will be able to get them over again soon. Kren and his collaborators have made some exciting new work for this intervention - and answered some questions we sent them. There is something about their work that somehow encapsulates the Counterflows spirit. Thank you Mountain/ Full Edition.

Music and art are our methods of engagement. We are lucky we have this voice. It is a precious thing in these times we find ourselves.

In love & solidarity, always

Counterflows x

Mountain /
Full Edition

An interview by Kentaroh Imai, June 2020

▼ 蛇デンス
▲ ある行為を犯罪と評価するための条件
蛇デンス — Snake & Springs

Q. How did Mountain/Full Edition come together?



About 8 years ago there was an event where Misako Yabuuchi, one of the band’s members, did a performance for a bed-bound child with a severe physical impairment at the child’s private home. I composed a waltz for this occasion, and this was a start. Then BuBu de la Madeleine joined us and we started our activity like a band. After that, friends started to join. People come and go. The group sometimes gets as big as 12 or 13 people. 



Q. What's the origin of the name?



When three of the original members stood in a line, it looked like a Chinese character yama (mountain). At the time we also found a flyer with a text describing a screening of a “full edition” film, then we decided to call ourselves Mountain/Full Edition.

Q. You have occasional members from outside of Japan join the group. What do you feel binds the collective together? Any specific musical ideas, aesthetics, politics?



Kentarouh Imai/Guitar Monkey
Concept, Music Composition, Lyrics, Video Direction
Misako Yabuuchi/Song Monkey,Twin Snake
Performance, Lyrics, Costume (Twin Snake, Props), Watercolor Painting
Kohei Matsumura/Corn Saxman
Camera, Video Composition
Ufo/Citizen
Rap, Lyrics, Magic
Kiuchi Hitomi/Trumpet Monkey
Lighting, Laser Illumination
Miho Shimizu/Pig A
Costume (Mountain Jacket, Animal Masks), Translation #2
Moire/Drum Monkey
Store Owner, moirestore.jimdo.com, Some luxurious effector
ChibiGuts/Dancing Monkey and Pig B
Maya Kawasaki/Elephant, Buddhist Priest Corn
Camera

Friends come from places like the U.S., France or Sweden, and if the timing is good, we do a session or sometimes even a live performance. We exchange ideas online and sometimes do long-distance collaboration where they send material like videos and sounds.


There are musical, artistic and political approaches in the group, but the dynamic changes depending on the band members who are in the band at any given time. With more liberal members in the group, what we would do will be more liberal. If I have left-wing members, we would be oriented towards the left. If we have many artists, the approach towards the work becomes more artistic. Our musical direction reflects our members at any given time.

When we have more parts where performers take part, then the focus of the work will be on the performance rather than how well the music is played. In these instances, I look back and think whether the unbalance reflected well in the work or not, but this also had a tendency to cause arguments.

Mixing various elements however allows me to reflect what is going on in society and the world. Working collectively brings out something that I cannot do on my own. These different factors influence the shape of the band, so it is also a way for me to make adjustments. 

We think of the politics, visual arts and music with one brain, so it is all connected.

It is difficult, but I don’t want to fall into a trap of intellectual relativism. And I want to overcome the fear that we would be labeled as political people.

▼ バンド蜜の世界
バンド蜜の世界 — World of Band Honey

Q. Activism is a large part of your collective. We were wondering if you would like to talk about this for a bit?

Some of us are actively engaged in activities against issues, such as politics, gender, racism, immigration, nuclear industry, while other members engage in other kinds of social activities. I try to incorporate these and express them through our music. But this is not all. 

Perhaps it is important to mention that there are not many artists in Japan who are outspoken about politics. Hardly any. And if someone talks about politics, the person would often get fierce criticism from all sorts of people for various reasons. Supporters of the far-right ruling party just want to attack whatever is against their ideology. People generally just want to consume music as fans.

This leads to a soft and fluffy Fascism, a very unique phenomenon to Japan.

Many artists probably think that political issues are troublesome to deal with. We feel so too. But I think linking social activities to artistic expressions can get us out of the soft and fluffy Fascism.

Q. There are a lot of masks in the group and a babble of different languages. How do you feel identity plays a part in Mountain/Full Edition?

I see what you mean. For a while I used to think that there were as many identities as there were band members, creating multiple forms of expressions. But if everyone does what they wish, it becomes chaotic, a nightmare of a drunken karaoke session. This can create an amazing masterpiece, but I feel it relied too much on the chance. 

I don’t think having many identities is simply good, and I am trying to make adjustments. That is why I used the animal masks - to make us look unified. I am always thinking about the balance between keeping the group’s diversity and the strength of the work. 



▼ 分け入って山
分け入って山 — in to the Mountain

Q. When we first heard the group in a way it first reminded us of another Japanese underground music collective, Maher Shalal Hash Baz. Do you see yourself as part of a lineage of collective-based music? And do you see yourself as part of a community or lineage of experimental activity in and around the western Kansai region?

You are right. There was an interesting music scene in Kansai region in the 90’s, and I was influenced by Japanese hardcore, Scum and Japanoize. I was in a Grindcore band as a teenager, and was aware of the BOREDOMS and the noise scene. I also was inspired by sound artists like Takehisa Kosugi. And off course, Maher. But I started listening to a mix of music: Aphex Twin, Fatboy Slim, Free Jazz such as Albert Ayler, and other kinds of Jazz as well. I think I am influenced by all sorts of sounds including contemporary music starting from Arnold Schönberg, sound art, soundscapes, and pop, world folk music, music that comes into my ear even if I don’t like it. 70’s American experimental music, sounds I hear randomly, music I have forgotten. I cannot control what will come to being. 

Ah, but I don’t listen so much to Vaporwave!

I am influenced not only by music, but by contemporary art, contemporary dance, left-wing culture, literature, old ladies’ knittings. 

In this sense, half of what you said is true and half is not. There are many experimental music communities in the Kansai region, but I don’t actively follow them. Perhaps there are differences among them, but from afar, they appear similar. What I would like to see and experience is not in the places I expect but in other unexpected places. It is like a Buddhist riddle.





Q. What other things in the Western Kansai region (music, art etc) is exciting you right now?

There are many artists, musicians and dancers in the Kansai region, and whether Japanese or international, interesting things are happening in all sorts of places. But I don’t feel that there is a place where we could belong.

脱領域化に暗黒啓蒙が降り注ぐ — Fuck'n Neoreaction Cave

I don’t get excited so often, but I do enjoy the works of friends (people who join Mountain/Full Edition). And although it is not possible now due to Covid-19, if there is a protest demonstration I would like to join. It is exciting to face democracy head-on in Japan today. 

Last but not least - if you enjoyed the videos we created, I hope you support us by purchasing our music at Band Camp, as the Japanese government is hopeless at supporting an unsellable band. We will also be making promotional products soon! mountainfulledition1.bandcamp.com

▲ 脱領域化に暗黒啓蒙が降り注ぐ