Soundograph is a series of works by Yasuhiro Morinaga and Roberto Paci Dalò that forge new relationships between silent cinema and today’s sonic research. Soundograph is dedicated to re-imbuing forgotten masterpieces with new meaning and energy by exposing them to contemporary sound and live performance.

The first project of the series is dedicated to Hiroshi Shumizu's Minato no Nihon musume (Japanese Girls at the Harbor). Next scheduled project is a film by Yasujiro Ozu.


Record Out April 15th!


soundograph #1

Yasuhiro Morinaga + Roberto Paci Dalò

Japanese Girls at the Harbor
Minato no Nihon musume, 1933

Composed, performed, and produced by
Yasuhiro Morinaga / Roberto Paci Dalò

Field Recordings Yasuhiro Morinaga / Naoki Kato
Feedback Drone Naoki Kato
Project Manager Azusa Yamazaki
Record Design RPD

Funded by Housen Cultural Organization (Cinematic Research Promotion)

The project is creation of the live music and sound environment for the Japanese silent film “Japanese Girls at the Harbor” (Minato no Nihon musume) directed by Hiroshi Shimizu, originally released in 1933.

“Japanese Girls at the Harbor” (an authentic timeless masterpiece of the Japanese cinema) was filmed in the area of Yokohama, known as an international harbour and U.S. army base. The soundscape of Yokohama combines local and foreign sounds /voices making it different from any other regions of Japan.

Nowadays, there are many composers who create music for silent movies. However, it seems that they don’t have too much to say. Often these musics are oriented more like a musical concert/event than the film screening. Indeed, when you look back to the history of silent film music, it was more like a music concert. However, in fact, the attitude we watch the film it’s now different from before. It means that the music/sound composition in itself is different from music/sound composition for cinema. These states menets are two different subjects and this project will proof the difference of aforementioned two matters.

During the silent film era, there used to be a person, called Benshi, who stands next to the screen explaining the story aurally, making sound effects through the use of his/her mouths and musical instruments, and entertaining the audience. Thus the role of Benshi was very important aspect for telling the story in order to screen the cinema in Japan. However, when the sound arrived – in 1928 in Japan – lots of Benshi obviously lost their jobs because the sound cinema was covering completely their need. The aesthetics of aural realization of storytelling and sound effects were totally changed turning to realistic recorded sounds because the technology involved.

The purpose of this project is not the creation of the soundscape of the film, but also creating the particular sound effects, music, ambient sounds through the use of aural and musical instruments in a modern context through the use of new media.

In addition to this, some of the sounds used for the project are recorded in the original film shooting location at the Yokohama’a harbour. This means the over imposition of today‘'s sound from Yokohama with the images from 70 years ago creating an astonishing effect. A true time-machine feeling through “Japanese Girls at the Harbour”. Also, by creating sound and music for the film, the difference between music/sound itself and music/sound for cinema are considered comprehensively.

This film was particularly shot on location and the each shot has longer takes including wide and close. By understanding what sound and music should be accompanied to the image as a cinematic representation, the sound and music will not destroy the images, the story, and the aesthetic of the film on its own.

Completed March 2012

World Premiere: 2012

Theatre or Cinema, Sound System, Video Projector, Blue-ray video player
(please contact us for detailed technical requirements)

m: +81-(0)90-9846-1389 [Japan]
m: +33-(0)7-8735-0862 (EU)

Roberto Paci Dalò
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Yasuhiro Morinaga is a Japanese sound designer, sound archivist and composer of musique concrete. He is regarded as one of the unique and distinctive sound designers of his generation. Yasuhiro has worked on multiple projects in film, contemporary dance, installation, and product design internationally. Also he has been engaged in field sound recording. His interest is to record and archive sound of natural phenomenon, wildlife environment and outland regional music  around the world and to research how these are affected and coexisted to the human habitats and lives. By the use of recorded sound, he creates soundscape based on the fictional and non-fictional events which follows particular narratives. He has presented at numerous festivals/events around the world. Morinaga’s eclectic sound design works for film and audio-visual works have been presented at the festivals such as Cannes Film Festival,  Venice Biennale, Venice Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival and etc. His collaborative works with installation and performance have also presented at the museums such as Pompidou Center [France], San Francisco Contemporary Museum [U.S.A], Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art [Canada], Smithsonian Institute [U.S.A], National History Museum of Luxembourg [Luxembourg] and etc. Morinaga also produced sound and music for SONY's monolithic design exhibition at Milano Salone 2010. He has been collaborating with Singaporean Artist, Ho Tzu Nyen for his visual works such as EARTH(2009),The Cloud of Unknowing(2011), and Endless Day. His sound and musical contributions to the the works by other artists are included Sion Sono (Film Director), Saburo Teshigawara (Choreographer) and Chris Cong Chan Fui (Film Director), a.o. He is co-founder of CONCRETE, non-profit organization based in Tokyo. CONCRETE produces music, cinema and publications. It also organizes international conferences, symposiums, workshops and concerts. With the sponsorship from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Morinaga organized international conference for sound design and recording in 2009. He has so far invited scholars, researchers and artists such as Michel Chion [Composer/France], Chris Watson [Sound Recordist/U.K], Kiyoshi Kurosawa [Film Director/Japan], Richard Ranft [British Library, U.K], Aki Onda[Musician, U.S.A], Larry Sider [Sound Designer, U.K.] a.o.

Roberto Paci Dal
ò is an Italian composer / performer, visual artist, and director. His work has been supported by John Cage and Aleksandr Sokurov, a.o. Roberto is the artistic director of the Giardini Pensili group with whom he directs and composes music-theatre, live cinema, and radio works presented worldwide including Kunsthalle Wien, Biennale di Venezia, Vienna Opera House, Ars Electronica Linz, Fundaciò Joan Mirò Barcelona, MaerzMusik Berlin, Locarno Film Festival, Charlottenborg Copenhagen, Wien Modern, Galleria Civica di Modena. A pioneer in the use of digital technologies he presents live media performances in the main venus of the the international electronic scene. Parallel to his music and stage work – he wrote, composed and directed about 30 theatre and music-theatre works presented worldwide – is the creation of a body of innovative film and video works regularly screened in International festivals. Collaborations include Kronos Quartet, Robert Lippok, David Moss, Philip Jeck, Scanner, Tom Cora, Mouse on Mars, Marold Langer-Philippsen, Alvin Curran, Terry Riley, Jean-Marc Montera, Predrag Matvejevic', Gabriele Frasca, Giorgio Agamben, Maurizio Cattelan, Guido Guidi, Leonardo Sonnoli. Particularly interested in urban explorations and site-specific projects, he has been recipient of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD Fellowship, member of the Internationale Heiner Müller Gesellschaft, and received several Ars Electronica Honorary Mentions for his work. Recent publications include the book “Millesuoni. Deleuze, Guattari e la musica elettronica” (Cronopio) and the record "The Maya Effect" in collaboration with British musician Scanner. Founder of the label L'Arte dell'Ascolto. His work has been presented in Europe, USA, Canada, Latin America, Middle East, Mexico, Israel, Russia, Africa. Roberto's galleries and museums' work is represented by Galerie Mario Mazzoli Berlin. He lives and works in Rimini and Berlin.

Hiroshi Shimizu (March 28, 1903 – June 23, 1966) was a Japanese film director, known for his silent films with detailed depictions of Japanese society. Shimizu was born in Shizuoka and attended Hokkaido University but left before graduating. He joined the Shochiku studio in Tokyo in 1921 and made his directorial debut in 1924, at the age of just 21. A friend and colleague of Yasujiro Ozu, he directed over 160 films during his career. His early work was mostly melodramatic or featured "wakadanna", the sons of rich merchants who led a playboy lifestyle (somewhat in a reflection of his own youth. His work in the 1930s, however, increasingly took advantage of shooting on location and non-professional actors and was praised at the time by film critics such as Matsuo Kishi for its realism. Chris Fujiwara has noted the use of repetition, plotlessness, punctuation, and a modern touch in Shimizu's work. His later work often focused on children, and Shimizu himself worked to help war orphans after World War II, an experience that led to the film Children of the Beehive. He formed his own independent production company after the war. He died of a heart attack on June 23, 1966, at the age of 63. Though respected in his time, today he is largely unknown, even in his native Japan. In 2008, Shochiku released two box sets which include eight of his films. In 2009, a Criterion Collection box set of four of his films was released.
Hiroshi Shimizu - Silent Master of the Japanese Ethos