404 Paul Kikuchi: Bat of No Bird Island | PM
Toggle Quick Contact Bar

Paul Kikuchi: Bat of No Bird Island

Duration: 19:16
Format: 10 inch vinyl
Edition: 100
Release Date: March 28, 2015
Cover Art: Photo courtesy of artist
Design: Tiffany Lin

Download, CD, and 10″ record from Bandcamp


Side A

  1. Ko Ni Mayou “Lost in the Fragrance”
    By Ichimaru (re-imagined by Kikuchi)
  2. Ko Ni Mayou “Lost in the Fragrance”
    Ichimaru original

Side B

  1. Asazuki Yuzuki “Morning Moon, Evening Moon”
    By Misao Matsubara (re-imagined by Kikuchi)
  2. Asazuki Yuzuki “Morning Moon, Evening Moon”
    Misao Matsubara original


Paul Kikuchi: composition, arranging, percussion, walkie-talkie
Tari Nelson-Zagar: violin
Eyvind Kang: viola
Maria Scherer Wilson: cello
Stuart Dempster: trombone
Bill Horist: guitar, walkie-talkie
Rob Millis: 78rpm records


Recorded by Doug Haire at the Jack Straw Cultural Center
Mixed by Doug Haire and Paul Kikuchi
Mastered by Nyberg Mastering

Bat of No Bird Island was made possible by Chamber Music America’s 2012 New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.  Other support from Jack Straw Cultural Center and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Paul Kikuchi’s Bat of No Bird Island is a song-cycle that blends the textured and fragile sonic landscapes of Japanese 78RPM records, static and feedback generated by old walkie-talkies, and traditional instrumental composition in an exploration of identity, displacement, culture, and belonging.  In re-imagining songs from his great grandfather’s collection of Japanese 78rpm records from the 1940’s – and exploring and interpreting his written memoir – Kikuchi has created a work that is a modernistic homage to early Japanese immigrants in the United States.

Released as a CD, limited edition 10” vinyl record, and website, Bat of No Bird Island is a multi-faceted project that combines narrative, artifact, and sound, with each format providing unique insight into the process and inspiration of the work. The CD and digital download feature the full studio recordings from the project. The 10” record (limited to 100 copies) pairs two of Kikuchi’s re-imaginations with the two original Japanese songs from which they drew inspiration. Finally, the website provides more context in the form of memoir excerpts, photographs, and recordings from the original 78rpm records, while also deconstructing music from the album into short vignettes that are be paired with photos and writings.

Kikuchi will be in Japan for three months in Spring 2015 on a US-Japan Friendship Commission Creative Artist Fellowship. He will be continuing research for Bat of No Bird Island – visiting the farmhouse in which Zenkichi was born, researching music and traditional paper-making, and collecting field recordings.


Paul Kikuchi is a percussionist, composer, and sound artist whose work explores a wide range of styles – from chamber music to soundscape ecology – while also considering specificity of site and material, differences in awareness and intention, along with aspects of history, experience, and community.  Kikuchi’s recent chamber compositions explore the experiential aspect of creation and perception, specifically the transmission of presence, somatic awareness, and intent from the composer/performer to the listener. He has created site-specific work in abandoned train tunnels, nuclear cooling towers, and underground cisterns that intends to invigorate perception by re-contextualizing sound in unusual acoustic environments. Along with leading and co-leading a variety of ensembles, he is an in-demand freelance percussionist – his playing can be heard on over 40 albums. As a sound artist Kikuchi has shown work at the Columbia City Gallery, Montalvo Arts Center Gallery, and the Wing Luke Museum, among others.

Paul’s work has been recognized and supported by The National Endowment for the Arts, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Chamber Music America, and the American Composers Forum, among others.  He is the founder and artistic director of Prefecture Music, an organization that supports contemporary music through performance, documentation, and education.


The Stash Dauber:
“Kikuchi has created a work of exceptional depth and resonance.”

Roswell Rudd:
“Bat of No Bird Island: Simply Extraordinary
Evocative power of sound language”

Alan Bishop, Sun City Girls:
“Hauntingly lovely and sparse”

Pike to the Hill:
“Kikuchi’s skill is not only in finding unique instrumentation and sounds. He has a compositional instinct for creating startling rhythmic events that push and pull you through the album and leaves an impression that you are dealing with at once an intellectual and raw art form.”

Feature Articles:

International Examiner

Chamber Music America