Photo by Marius Shanzer
Shinya Sugimoto (1979) is a New York/Osaka-based Japanese composer and recording engineer. Sugimoto alchemizes acoustic materials such as choir, orchestra, nature sound, electronic sound and improvisational piano phrases into a polyphonic structure of obscure acoustic stratum, creates beautifully catastrophic soundscapes. Although largely based on classical music, his musical style crosses over immensely broad field.
Born in Hyogo, he studied piano and classical composition as a teenager. After studying philosophy at Kwansei Gakuin University, he was trained as an audio engineer at an audio 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 electronic music, he rapidly grew interest in audio signal processing with Max/MSP, cultivated his own style merging texture-oriented soundscapes and systematized improvisation, which was also deeply rooted in 20th-century classical music by composers such as Arnold Schoenberg, Olivier Messiaen and Pierre Boulez. In 2004, he recorded his first solo album Imago, praised by Nobukazu Takemura as "profoundly beautiful music".
Sugimoto moved to New York City in 2006. Co-founded FreedomSound Recording Studio in Brooklyn, he has been associated with number of recording sessions from various fields, including the original soundtrack of independent feature film The Skinny by Patrik-Ian Polk (Fol-Chen) and award-winning audio book Old Jews Telling Jokes by Sam Hoffman and Eric Spiegelman. Sugimoto's compositions and live performances have been featured worldwide in various 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 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. Recent years he has been gaining international recognition as film score composer, collaborators include 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 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, he publishes most of his recordings under Creative Commons licenses, enabling free downloads.