Yoshi Wada, Inventive Creator of Sound Worlds, Dies at 77


Yoshi Wada, a Japanese-born composer and artist who drew a following creating cacophonous, minimalist performances on homemade instruments and was a member of the Fluxus performance art movement that took root in New York in the 1960s, died on May 18 at his home in Manhattan. He was 77.

His son and musical collaborator, Tashi Wada, confirmed the death but said the cause was not known.

Yoshi Wada’s music was characterized by dense, sustained sounds that could create mind-bending acoustic effects. He borrowed widely from different musical traditions — Indian ragas, Macedonian folk singing and Scottish bagpipes — all while supporting his musical life by working in construction.

In one early technique, in the 1970s, he attached mouthpieces to plumbing pipes that could extend more than 20 feet. In ritualistic, multihour concerts, he immersed listeners in the richly resonant drones that emanated from this Alphorn-like instrument, which he called an Earth Horn.

Combined with electronics created by the sound artist Liz Philips, the pulsating sonorities of the pipes offered a new take on the minimalist style then in vogue.

“A lot of young children came,” Mr. Wada recalled in 2016, “and they went crazy pushing the buttons and enjoyed it quite a lot.”



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