The Sound of Ryoji Ikeda Knows No Borders

How Ryoji Ikeda, a figurehead of 'sound art' in Japan, conquered the world.


By bonus1up — Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Regarded as the founding father of contemporary art fused with techno and IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), Ryoji Ikeda began his career as a DJ in 1990. He gradually began to undertake various projects in sound art, a subtle blend of plastic arts and music, and became involved with Dumb Type, an interdisciplinary collective, taking the role of composer and collaborating in the creation of shows.

In 1995, Ikeda released his first album, ‘1000 Fragments’. This album marked the start of him touring in Europe, the US and Japan. Through immersive shows, highly visual stage performances and minimalist concerts, the artist quickly rose to fame. During his shows, he would tend to remain stoic, black sunglasses perched on the end of his nose, standing in front of his computer, an attitude that became his hallmark. Since then, Ryoji Ikeda has continued to be talked about, becoming one of the most interesting sound artists on the minimalist electronic scene.