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Tekno Taiko is the working title for an ongoing experimental project looking at forging a new style of taiko that fuses taiko and electronic music into an integral whole, creating a sub-genre perhaps – think KODO meets the Chemical Brothers!
Started by James as an offshoot of the Drum Orchestra lottery funded project based in Oxfordshire in the late 1990s, Tekno Taiko was encouraged and co-developed by sound engineer and fellow Drum Orchestra member. Alex Hehir. James has composed new pieces and in conjunction with Alex has created several recorded versions, including major live recording sessions at professional studios in Oxford with Shingo Karube and Keisuke Moriya. The fullest exposition of Tekno Taiko so far was seen at the 21 South Street “Wadaiko Parties” in 2007 and 2008 with the joint live shows with Akatsuki Daiko.
In addition, there has been an ongoing schools element to the Tekno Taiko project. It was under the same working title that James first visited Thomas Adams school back in 2001 with DJ Pablo Spaul. This was sponsored by Belmont Arts Centre in Shrewsbury, now The Hive Arts Centre, and included also working with DJ Barney Philbrick to produce a CD of 3 tekno taiko school-led pieces. Further to this, recent shows at Wem Town Hall have seen fuller live versions of James’ more complex pieces which made use of drum pads and PAs. Videos of these pieces are currently in the making.
So, finally almost ready for public consumption in digital formats, James has also recently been rehearsing raw, taiko-only, versions of some of his original compositions with members of London-based group Kaikyo Taiko. And as an interesting offshoot, coming largely out of new audio software and a request from a local bellydance group(!), James arranged this mix last year.