Photo by Marius Shanzer
Shinya Sugimoto (1979) is a New York/Osaka-based Japanese composer and recording engineer. He alchemizes samples and improvisational piano phrases into a polyphonic structure of obscure audio layers, creating beautifully catastrophic soundscapes. Although largely based on contemporary classical music, his style crosses over immensely broad fields.
Born in Hyogo, he studied piano and classical composition as a teenager. After studying at Kwansei Gakuin University, he was trained as an audio engineer at Center Recording School in Tokyo. After graduation, he briefly worked as an assistant for composer/arranger Akira Inoue with whom Sugimoto experienced professional recording sessions at Japan's highest-ranked studios. Under the influence of glitch music, he rapidly grew interested in audio signal processing with Max/MSP. He cultivated his own style of merging texture-oriented soundscapes and systematized improvisation, which was also deeply rooted in 20th-century classical music. In 2004, he recorded his first solo album Imago, praised by Nobukazu Takemura as "profoundly beautiful music".
Sugimoto relocated to New York City in 2006. Co-founding FreedomSound Recording Studio in Brooklyn, he has been associated with a number of recording sessions from various fields, including the original soundtrack of the independent feature film The Skinny by Patrik-Ian Polk (Fol-Chen) and the award-winning audio book Old Jews Telling Jokes by Sam Hoffman and Eric Spiegelman. Sugimoto has been featured worldwide in concerts, art exhibitions, films, and numerous recording projects both as a solo artist and a collaborator. He made solo live performances at ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn three years in row from 2009. He has also collaborated with fashion designers such as Asher Levine, whose 2011 spring/summer collection runway show featured Sugimoto's ambient music. In recent years, he has been gaining international recognition as a film score composer with collaborators including multi-award-winning Thai filmmaker Anocha Suwichakornpong.
With deep concerns towards environmental and social issues, Sugimoto has participated in numerous charity events. He has been a collaborator of the non-profit organization "g.o.s.i.p.", an after-school program which supports children through Hip Hop activities such as rap, graffiti, and dance at public schools in Brooklyn. He also holds a critical opinion against intellectual property rights in the internet era, publishing most of his recordings under Creative Commons.