1997 (CD mini-album)
Victor Entertainment VICL-60112

39th Japan Records Awards for Best Production
  • 1
    Aria - Goldberg Variations
  • 2
    Courante - Cello Suites No. 1
  • 3
    Menuet 2 - English Suites No. 4
  • 4
    Sarabande - Cello Suites No. 2
  • 5
    Fugue 1 - The Art of Fugue
  • 6
    Prelude - Cello Suites No. 1

Completed one year after the release of Cello Suites 1.2.3, this mini-album presents another dimension of Shimizu’s attitude and perception of space. In contrast to his renditions of the Cello Suites, which are dominated by strong reverberation, this release includes the non-reverberated “Goldberg Variations” and “Art of Fugue.” The inorganic sine wave sounds recall Shimizu’s childhood experimentations with Morse Code and memories of the electric-sounding chorus of insects.

  • Yasuaki Shimizu has been fitted into just about every category imaginable: people have called his work jazz, pop, enka, world music, experimental. But those labels haven’t stopped him from creating a body of work that is always ambivalent, hybrid. Recently he took on Bach. Not only that, but he did it on saxophone. This was a bold, radical move. In order to achieve the polyphony that is so essential to Bach, he recorded the second of Bach’s unaccompanied Cello Suites in the underground Ohya stone quarry—a little-known, mystical space. Afterward he said, “There are still lots of approaches left to take to Bach,” and sure enough, his next venture was Bach Box. If his first effort had been natural and faithful, this was something completely new, incorporating such elements as participation of women vocalists (which would have been unthinkable in Bach’s time), the counterpoint of montage-style conversation, and the sine wave signal sounds given off by an Akai S-900 oscillator. With his treatment of technology and voices, he took an unprecedentedly modern approach to Bach theory. Shimizu has said, “Everything in Bach is neutral … as changing and unlimited as a globe.” This made me think, “Everything about Yasuaki Shimizu is neutral and unlimited too.” And that the disproportionate aesthetic so evident in Bach’s musical scores just happens to be shared by Shimizu.

    —Shiro Ito (translated by Elizabeth Floyd)

Produced by Yasuaki Shimizu, co-produced with Eiki Uchida (2, 6)
Composed by J.S. Bach


Yasuaki Shimizu: tenor saxophone, flute, Akai S-900 signal, treatments
Sus 4: vocals (4)
Elizabeth Floyd, Merry Angel: spoken voices (3)
Jenny White, Pamela Virgilio: spoken voices (3, 5)


Recorded/mixed by Yoichi Tanaka, Takeshi Kamura (2, 6) at NHK, Yasuaki Shimizu (1, 3, 5) at Submarine, Shinji Kano (4) at Consipio (Tokyo)


Tracks 2, 6 from the soundtrack Mo Hitotsu no Shinzo