AQi Fzono

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AQi Fzono (芙苑 晶, Fuzono Aki) (born November 20, 1969 in Kyoto, Japan) is a Japanese composer, synthesizer musician and electronic music artist. The translunary and hybrid sound of his synthesizer/electronic music that fuses trance, techno, ambient, progressive rock and classical music, and his spacey and vast-scaled instrumental electronic music album series that project a visual atmosphere has an international following. He is also known as an innovator of groundbreaking musical methodologies "Synthesizer Symphony" that links "Symphobient", "Symphonic techno", and "Sci-fi music". Also known as one of the pioneering few of trance music in Asia.


Formative years[edit]

Fzono was born in 1969 in Kyoto and grown in Yokohama, Japan.He Started learning piano at the age of four and began composing at six. Fzono later studied Western Classical music (harmony, counterpoint, orchestration) and Eastern traditional music under composers Toshiro Mayuzumi and Toru Takemitsu [1] .At the age of eleven, Fzono became interested in Synthesizers and started creating Electronic Music and Musique Concrete works. In 1985, at the age of sixteen, Fzono organized Etherophonic Orchestra, which is regarded as the first symphonic ensemble totally by electronic musical instruments in the Orient. He composed some Contemporary Classical music and avant-garde tunes for this ensemble, and held concerts in some places and conducted by himself.[2] Around the same time, he started playing in a Psychedelic rock band Midara Gokoro (means ”Lecherous-minded” in old Japanese). In 1987–1991 Fzono stayed in Europe (mainly in West Germany) and studied under composer Karlheinz Stockhausen and Mauricio Kagel.[3] Later Fzono learned History of Art, Aesthetics, Philosophy and Mysticism in Cologne, Munich and Berlin. Later he learned Zen in Japan.[4][5]

Early works and band activities[edit]

In 1989 when Fzono stayed in New York, he formed an Trance music Unit Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory with various musicians and performers, and held a series of live performances titled Multimedia Visionquest that featured Trance music and ethnic music, video drug, dancers, open fire etc. in New York. After releasing the two albums “Mars Botanical Garden” (1988) and “Unexplored Region” (1994). (These USA albums were released under the name "Aurora Heads", however some parts of Europe and Asia, they were released under the original name "Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory".)

In the Summer of 1988, he and the members of Midara Gokoro went to London and encountered an Acid House movement called Second Summer of Love, and changed the band name to Far East Acid House Quartet, making a fresh start. They played mainly in the underground scenes and were regarded as one of the first Rave bands in Asia. AQi Fzono played synthesizers, keyboards, Theremin etc. Fzono was the leader of the band at the beginning, and became known as a rare pioneer of Acid House, psychedelic trance, Goa Trance and Rave party in Japan. In 1997, the band broke up due to the unfortunate deaths of the two members, Kaworu Ichikawa and Elisa Tajima.[6]

Solo career – Symphobient Trilogy[edit]

In parallel with those band activities and the series of sound experimentations, he began creating his solo works. In 1988, he recorded his first solo album Phosphorescence (under the name of Siamese Twin, out of print) while he was staying in Ibiza island, and released it from Nerve Nets Records in New York. In 1990, his second album Echoes was released. This album with an underlying theme of expressing mystic aura of the woods as if peering through a microscope has translunary and visual sound created with analog synthesizers and vintage keyboards over classical orchestration. This sound was named “Symphobient” (short for Symphonic Ambient. One theory holds that it is a short for Psychic and psychedelic Symphonic-poem Ambient). Also, this is the first album to carry a subtitle “Synthesizer Symphony”. The term Synthesizer Symphony was created by AQi Fzono, and was used as a subtitle for his solo album series. In Ruins released in 1993, a day of one nameless young hippie was portrayed with day suite-style dreaming music. In Cathedral released in 1995, the transcendental hallucinatory images were portrayed musically by cross-fertilizing the elements of Classical music (mainly Church music and Gregorian chants) and Techno/Psychedelic Trance (Goa Trance) with a touch of Eastern ancient-time music feel. Echoes, Ruins and Cathedral are called the Symphobient Trilogy. The signature sound of Symphobient is generated by fusing many different types of music including Dark ambient, House, Space Rock, Psychedelic Trance, Trip hop, Atmospheric New Age, Musique Concrete, Western Classical music, and Eastern ancient-time music, creating the psychedelic visual sensations. The term Symphobient is more than just an amalgamation of “symphonic” and “ambient”.

Creation of Symphonic Techno: Transcendence of Time and Space[edit]

In his last album of the 20th century Cosmology (1998), he tackled the monumental theme of “transcending time and space” by uniting Techno, Rock, Ambient, and Church music using the Classical music orchestration techniques. The incomparable arrangement of the music and the graphically appealing sound that can be called “Electronica Symphonic poem” has been named as Symphonic Techno, and was well received by not only Techno/Dance music listeners but also Progressive rock and Classical music listeners.

The term “Symphonic Techno” is said to have been created originally to indicate the one and only sound of this album. Also, later in the same year of the release of Cosmology, he defined his unique music style as “Sci-fi music”. “Cosmology” is a world’s first album that “Syntheremin” (Theremin with the functions of synthesizer – invented by AQi Fzono) was featured.

After a five year interval, he released an epic album Chronicle (2003). The theme of this majestic album was to express the eternal time of the world history from the Creation to the present day. This symphonic poem-like album featured the wide range of sound elements including orchestra, choir, soprano solo, traditional musical instruments of Japan and China. He has acquired the copyright of his past albums (most of them are currently out of print) originally released from Nerve Nets Records, and has begun making the digital remaster of those albums from the original multi-track tapes. The first of the remaster series Cosmology, one of his most popular solo albums, was released in 2006.

In 2007, Celebrating 20 years of making music, AQi Fzono released his first Best Hit / Club Remix album Trance-Rave Cosmology (AQi Fzono with Trance-Rave Daughters). Including the selected and signature tunes from AQi Fzono’s previous solo albums, “Far East Acid House Quartet” and “Aurora Heads” (Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory), this album showcases AQi Fzono’s club hits. Space DJ Ryo (ex-Far East Acid House Quartet), DJ Spiral Groove, Hypnotic Twin and other guest remixers have shaped those 13 tunes into the brand new club remixes. Also included is an original new tune “Japanese Zippie Youth” featuring hard Breakbeats.


AQi Fzono has devised and invented several new terms, concepts, genres, as well as original musical instruments in order to describe his one and only music style and his new compositional methodologies. Those include as follows:

  • Synthesizer Symphony (he originally called it “Electronic Acid Symphony”)
  • Symphonic Techno (or “Symphonic Acid”)
  • Symphobient


Throughout his recording works AQi Fzono uses several unusual or custom instruments. Those include:

  • Doepfer Schaltwerk: 8-Tracks MIDI Pattern Sequencer System from German Company Doepfer
  • Customised Moog modular synthesizer System (used in most of his albums)
  • Syntheremin: Custom made Theremin conceived and invented by AQi Fzono (used in Cosmology. A portable version was used in a former CAN member Damo Suzuki’s Japan tour in 2005)
  • Left-handed Theremin (Moog Etherwave Theremin: AQi Fzono Model 2005): custom-built by Moog Music for AQi Fzono. Body color is metallic blue. Used in live performances of Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory etc.


Below is the nicknames used for AQi Fzono:[7][6]

  • ”The Minstrel of Diode” (especially in early years - “Symphobient” era)
  • ”Symphonic Techno Pioneer”
  • ”Godfather of Neo-hippie (or “Techno-hippie”) ” (especially in his native Japan)
  • ”Techno Wagner”


Studio Albums[edit]

  • Phosphorescence (1988)
  • Echoes (1990)
  • Ruins (1993)
  • Cathedral (1995)
  • Cosmology (1998)
  • Chronicle (2003)

Club Remix Album[edit]

  • A Guide To Cosmology (2000)
  • Trance-Rave Cosmology (2007) by AQi Fzono with Trance-Rave Daughters

Bands and Units[edit]

  • Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory (1987 -, later known as Aurora Heads mainly in the US, but Fzono unified the Unit name to Psychedelic Plants Research Laboratory in 2008)
  • Far East Acid House Quartet (1988–1997)

Related People and Collaborative Artists[edit]

  • Damo Suzuki(Ex-Can, Fzono joined Damo’s Japan tour in 2005)
  • Eric Ross (Thereminist and Composer)
  • Madame Juju (Guitarist)
  • Space DJ Ryo (Ex-member of Far East Acid House Quartet)

Personal life[edit]

  • In 1992, he married a French-Japanese “Rave” dancer Elisa Tajima (1966–1997, a former member of Far East Acid House Quartet ). They divorced in 1996.[6]

See also[edit]

  • Symphonic Techno
  • Syntheremin


External links[edit]


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