Sapporo International Art Festival 2014 - Urban Soundscape CompetitionSapporo International Art Festival 2014 - Urban Soundscape Competition


The Creative City Sapporo International Art Festival Executive Committee issued a worldwide invitation for submissions of sound files representing the SIAF 2014 theme that are suitable for reproduction in urban public spaces. The 578 works have been submitted from around the world. SIAF 2014 Guest Director Ryuichi Sakamoto has reviewed all submissions impartially and thoroughly and chosen one Grand Prix, one Golden Award and four Silver Awards. The Grand Prix work (sound logo) is played at SIAF 2014 sites in the city during the festival. And the top 6 works (Long Version) are played at the entrance of the Former Sapporo Court of Appeals (a.k.a. Shiryokan).

General Critiques - SIAF2014 Guest Director Ryuichi Sakamoto

It was an extremely pleasant surprise to receive more than 500 entries from both within Japan and overseas. What I focused on in judging were simplicity, impact that lingered in the ears as a "logo", beauty of the sound, how it screams "Sapporo" and "SIAF" and uniqueness. It might have been rather hard to clear all these points, however, works which placed at the top excelled in these areas, especially the top three works, Grand Prix [Song of the planet], Golden Award [seed of an urban tree] and Silver Award [Voicing (part III)], which were difficult to rank over each other. I am very grateful that so many people participated in this competition. During the period of SIAF, these "sound logos" will be played throughout the city, and longer versions of the top six works will also be played in the Former Sapporo Court of Appeals, so I hope the citizens of Sapporo will stop by and have a listen.

Grand Prix Song of the Planet / Wasaburou Watanabe

Using computers, I edited sounds such as fish bones found at the beach, pedal organs, bells, bird songs, ambient sounds, and tonkori (an Ainu musical instrument). I composed music combining natural materials and musical instruments from several decades ago with technology. It reveals a small "city and nature" shape. This piece features the story of tiny particles floating in space gathering together to form a planet. This planet will continue to change and eventually explode with ginormous energy. These shattered tiny particles will quietly come together and form a planet again.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

In the midst of the hustle-bustle of the city, hearing this calm harmony draws the listener to lend a careful ear and instills a slightly different mood than the norm. The sound of the tonkori so deeply tied to Hokkaido adds a nice flavor of the North. I hear the artist played the tonkori himself.

Wasaburou Watanabe

Born in Chiba Prefecture in 1982, currently lives in Kagawa Prefecture. He has produced music using natural materials such as stone, wood, sand, ambient sounds and musical instruments. He was in charge of the music for the Setouchi International Music Festival 2010 promotional video as a member of acoustic unit "toritohito". Since the disbandment of the unit, he has held workshops and exhibits of his paintings and solo music. During the same period he started "aotof" with tabla musician Shinsuke Inoue. They perform all over.

Gold Award Seed of an urban tree / Sayuri Hayashi, Hannes Egnell, Hanna Bylund

This sound piece expresses the image of a seed sown in the city as opens its eyes, grows and matures into a tall tree. At times you can hear a wood nymph chatting. The piece expresses the voice of the seed which, even through harsh seasons and conditions, receives the blessing of water and sunlight and little by little goes on developing. We have a music studio in Stockholm called Eson Studio, which is where we created the piece. The three of us actually walked through the woods in Sweden gathering natural sounds (such as water, wind, leaves, branches, grass, bird calls, etc.) which are used in the song. As a sound installation utilizing ambient sounds, we aimed to create a piece that can be touched with the ears and float an image to the mind's eye when played.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

This piece was full of attractive aspects that made me want to give it the Grand Prix. While the artist is Japanese she lives in Sweden, so perhaps that is why the whole piece gives off the feel of the Northern landscape. The listener almost feels as if they are in the middle of the forest.

Sayuri Hayashi , Hannes Egnell, Hanna Bylund

Sayuri Hayashi (composing and managing)
Born in Fukui Prefecture and currently resides in Stockholm. She began classical piano at age 3. After graduating from the Music Department of the Faculty of Education at Shinshu University, she participated in an independant music study abroad in Sweden and studied Improvisation and Composing. The short film "moment" for which Hayashi and Hannes Egnell composed the soundtrack was selected for and screened at the 2013 Puchon Fantastic International Film Festival and Oceanside International Film Festival. She enjoys ambient sounds as she was born and raised in an environment with beautiful nature. She currently works as a music professor at an international school.

Hannes Egnell (composing and sound engineering)
Born in Stockholm, Sweden and grew up in a music-family. He started studying music in high school learning drums, saxophone and piano. After that he advanced through two jazz-schools and got accepted to the Academy of Music and Drama, Gothenburg studying Improvisation. Throughout the studies composing was one of his favorite subjects. In the summer 2010 he was on tour in Europe and later starred on several recordings beeing the drummer in an album released 2012. He has been composing music for two short-films of which one of them has been awarded in the Puchon Fantastic International Film Festival and Oceanside International Film festival.

Hanna Bylund (composing and vocals)
Born in Gothenburg, Sweden. She is a Swedish singer and composer, currently studying at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm at the jazz and improvisation department. She started to sing classical music and play the violin at young age and found later on interest in modern and improvised music. She tries to find exciting ways to combine sounds and genres to create a new way of listening. Hanna has achieved several music scholarships and is currently on tour in Europe and Australia.

Silver Award


The voice is, possibly, the oldest instrument used by humans. This minimalist composition consists of three parts in which I explore the three basic possibilities of the, in this case, female voice – whisper, speaking and singing. Canons, floating overlays and melodic patterns are the compositional techniques used in this piece. Particularly, the third part is a recording of about 16 different melodic patterns used as a repetitive loops – growing up until the culmination, receding for a kind of recapitulation and finally, disappearing just as in the beginning of the piece. Special thanks for Monica de Nut for participating in this project.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

This entry came from overseas. I think this piece packs the largest impact, and the concept is that of modern art making it an excellent selection in terms of its appropriateness to SIAF. However, I feel it is a bit lacking in its relativity to Sapporo.

Karolis Biveinis (composer) and Monica De Nut (voice)

As a composer and pianist formed between Lithuania and Spain, I mainly work with classical chamber music and jazz, focused on soundtrack. Image, as source of inspiration (photo, video or imaginary), is very important factor in my creation process. However, my list of works also includes academic contemporary, experimental and even electronic music compositions.

Depth Perception

“Depth Perception” is a piece which utilizes as sources a combination of modular analog synthesis, field recordings of different environments, and digital editing. This composition is inspired by the friction of realities created by the interaction of nature and humans, as it affects tangible and unique elements such as cities, landscapes and mindscapes. I was interested in conveying both the "traveling" of physical and mental experiences but also to prompt the listener to re-evaluate how his/her current reality has been shaped and transformed by such interactions.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

It is like the electric sound logos used at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport that I enjoyed and it is quite nice. However, this sound logo delivered a strong impact and was used for a long time, so it must still be lingering in the ears of many people. As such, it may have been better to create a sound logo with a different direction in order to avoid resembling the original.

Marco Liy

Marco Liy is an electroacoustic composer and plasticien sonore based in Montreal, Quebec. His intrepid perspective towards sound practices leads him to constantly explore unknown sonic potentials and to push the boundaries of the sonic experience. He graduated from the Electroacoustic Studies program at Concordia University, and his pieces have been presented in Montreal, Monaco and several international festivals.


I currently live in Tokyo, however I spent my childhood in Sapporo so I began from visiting spaces I hadn't been to in a long time where sounds will be set up and built a mental image. Using sounds recorded in the building which I visited, ambient sounds such as Sapporo freestone and natural sounds, and highly improvisational performance sounds making use of electronic devices, I aimed to create a "feel" of sound connecting the atmosphere of the ins and outs of the entire venue. I hope you will be able to feel if even a little what this work is trying to convey.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

I thought that this piece was quite nice. However, it may be a bit gloomy for a SIAF logo which is intended to win the familiarization of the citizens of Sapporo.

Keiichi Tanaka

I was strongly influenced by the music of YMO during the first grade of junior high school. Longing for a world in which I could create, I enrolled in Tama Art University. Shortly after graduation, I participated in a beginners archery class and by some chance happened to become Japanese representative for the World Competition, but after sustaining an injury I have been taking photographs and producing music.

Five Winds

The sentiment loaded in the "Five" of this piece's title, "Five Winds", can be expressed as the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal, and water as well as the five holes of the hocchiku which produce its five basic tones. As a musical technique, this piece features a quintette of three different types of flutes: 1 shaku 3 sun (39.39 cm) (High E Flute), 2 shaku 5 sun (75.75cm) (G Flute), 3 shaku (90.9 cm) (Low E Flute). The long reverb effect present throughout the piece resulted from recording inside the tunnel of a nearby mountain. If you listen carefully, you can hear the sound of water flowing through the roadside ditch.

Commentary by Ryuichi Sakamoto

The combination of sounds of natural materials is very comforting. It represents “nature” very well, which is a part of the theme of SIAF, “City and Nature” . It may be a bit lacking in the view point of the “City” side of the theme, however.

Kenji Endo

The "hocchiku", a primative shakuhachi (bamboo flute), is a five-hole recorder made of Japanese timber bamboo. I harvest bamboo from the local mountains and make the flutes myself. These flutes are rather too simplistic and imperfect to be called "instruments". But this simplicity and imperfection is what makes up the unique character of bamboo and gives its charm of inspiring the human ear adjust.