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***Nehan is a Japanese free improvisation & avant-garde rock quintet formed in August 2022. Their performances are initiated by a 9hz brain wave emitted from a testee who has been brought into a deep meditative state via either hypnosis or acupuncture—a very relaxed but very alert state. nehan doesn’t begin until the testee has gotten into the state of “nothingness.” It is only then that the improvisation can begin.
The role of improvisation has been key to all the musical projects of Masaki Batoh. In 2010, as Batoh was winding down the activity of his long-stand- ing “heavy chamber folk” group, Ghost, he became involved in the design of a machine to generate sonic data based on brain waves. An acupuncturist as well as a musician by trade, his interest was spurred by the rhythms of the body and the brain, and a desire to access the “pulses” of brain waves to initiate improvisations. Following the release of Brain Pulse Music, Batoh toured Japan and the US, making demonstrations of his process using a local volunteer and guest performers, when available. Today, nehan arrive at their performance space prepared with a Brain Pulse testee, bringing a wide array of instruments including gongs, timpani, tabla and other drums and percussion, Crumhorn, bagpipes, mellotron, oscillators and additional sound effects. Their performance is a transformative electro-acoustic display that passes through the prism of music styles, from east to west, from traditional folk and classical to rock, jazz, and avant electronic.
For the personnel of nehan, Masaki Batoh asked players with whom he had good previous experiences in improvisation: Futoshi Okano (Ghost, Acid Mothers Temple, The Silence), Haruo Kondo (Espvall & Batoh) and Junzo Tateiwa (Ghost), along with female Brain Pulse testee Gozen on oscillators. The performance here, recorded live in August of 2022 at GOK SOUND in Tokyo, demonstrates their communal dedication to the improvisation. The players act as listeners and musicians simultaneously, inspired to make extended pieces of music out of the “nothingness” of brain waves.