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Mission statement

      Luck and auspicious coincidence are a part of life, and the partnership which is BigFish Studio is the proof in the pudding. Two people are the driving force behind BigFish Studio: Jeff Cairns, Canadian bagpipe champion, flautist, jazz saxophonist, has over the last two decades in Japan become one of the leading international teachers and players of shakuhachi. Richard Gilbert, guitarist, poet, and audio engineer, has over the last two decades in Japan become a noted international haiku-research scholar, educator and sound crafter.

      Our studio, a labor of love, is located on a virgin mountainside 15 minutes from the city, surrounded by Hinoki (Japanese Cypress) trees — a naturally relaxing setting to inspire. A place where you can breathe.

       Our first major CD project, “Silent Letters, Secret Pens” (shakuhachi and koto), was recorded at Mashiki Concert Hall in 2006. Following this project, our energy has gone into the creation of an environment through which musicians may find the peace and space to draw in, speak out, perform and contemplate. We too take this approach in our engineering.

      One of the primary inspirations and goals of BigFish Studio is that of cultural preservation: many expert players of traditional Japanese instruments have yet to be recorded, and it will not be long before significant living cultural aspects of millennial traditions will be lost. We feel that cultural preservation is both a significant and timely mission.

      Our project studio has been built from the mind of a musician, yet with the hands of a craftsman to create a sonic environment sculpted with cutting-edge acoustic treatment, resulting in a balanced, live-room sound complementary to the most demanding acoustic instruments and vocals. Working with a careful selection of microphones, our goal has been to achieve a natural and organic representation of live performance, capturing the full dynamic range and image of each instrument and player.

We warmly welcome you to BigFish Studio.

Richard Gilbert & Jeff Cairns
Kumamoto, Japan, 2011