Gucci’s latest short film, “Kaguya by Gucci,” features a soundtrack by Japanese composer Keiichiro Shibuya with vocals by an AI-equipped humanoid robot
Watch the film here.
Tokyo-based composer and musician Keiichiro Shibuya composes the original soundtrack for Gucci’s newest short film, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the luxury brand’s bamboo-handle bags. The film features vocals from the AI-equipped humanoid robot Alter4, Shibuya’s long-term collaborator.
Directed by award-winning Japanese filmmaker Makoto Nagahisa, the six-minute short film reimagines the ancient Japanese folktale Taketori Monogatari (The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter) in modern-day Tokyo. The story follows a celestial princess named Kaguya who is found on Earth by a bamboo cutter inside a glowing plant. The film features Hikari Mitsushima as Princess Kaguya, Aoi Yamada as the bamboo cutter, and Eita Nagayama as the emperor who falls in love with the princess – all dressed in pieces from Gucci’s Love Parade collection.
Shibuya says: “Gucci’s contemporary re-imagining of one of Japan’s oldest fairy tales inspired my composition. Alter4 acts as a kyogen-mawashi or storyteller, a vital role in traditional forms of Japanese performance art such as noh and kabuki. Juxtaposing tradition and modernity, an android – a product of contemporary technology – plays the narrator instead of a human singer. In addition, the music integrates contemporary and traditional sounds, using digital and analog synthesizers, strings, and vocals generated with artificial intelligence. This echoes Gucci’s concept of retelling the folktale and reconceiving the bamboo-handle bag.”
Shibuya worked with Berlin-based engineer and musician Enyang Urbiks to master the soundtrack. The lyrics were written in collaboration between the film’s director and Cypher, an AI lyricist.
The AI-equipped android made its debut in 2018 with the android opera Scary Beauty, which toured Japan, Germany, and the UAE. Shibuya composed the opera’s music and Alter3, Alter4’s previous version, was responsible for setting the orchestra’s tempo and volume while simultaneously singing with the music. Blending machine learning with classical music, Shibuya and the android’s projects have evolved to enable the android to sing to Shibuya’s piano improvisations in real time, without scores.
In celebration of the film’s release, a Gucci pop-up store will open in the Mitsukoshi department store in Nihombashi, Tokyo, from 31 August to 20 September, with an installation inviting the public to view “Kaguya by Gucci '' in-person. The film can also be viewed on Gucci.com and the brand’s Youtube channel. Gucci.com and the brand’s Youtube channel