Apr 7, 2013

Sundaze 1314

Hello, we move to the East for a rising sun Sundaze post today , not just any sunset but a classically inspired one. This may sound cheesy but I assure you it isn't, in fact the man responsible had to invent the techniques he used to come to his work as you all will be able to check for yourselves now... N'Joy

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Tomita Isao, born April 22, 1932), often known simply as Tomita, is a Japanese music composer, regarded as one of the pioneers of electronic musicand space music, and as one of the most famous producers of analog synthesizer arrangements. In addition to creating note-by-note realizations, Tomita made extensive use of the sound design capabilities of his instrument, using synthesizers to create new artificial sounds to accompany and enhance his electronic realizations of acoustic instruments. He also made effective use of analog music sequencers[1] and featured futuristic science fiction themes, while laying the foundations for synth-pop music and trance-like rhythms. He also received four Grammy Award nominations for his album Snowflakes are Dancing in 1974

Tomita was born in Tokyo and spent his early childhood with his father in China. After returning to Japan, he took private lessons in orchestration and composition while an art history student at Keio University, Tokyo. He graduated in 1955 and became a full-time composer for television, film and theatre. He composed the theme music for the Japanese Olympic gymnastics team for the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1965, he composed the theme song and incidental music for Osamu Tezuka's television animated series Jangaru Taitei (Jungle Emperor), released in the USA as Kimba the White Lion. Bernie Baum, Bill Giant and Florence Kaye were the vocalists. In 1966 he wrote a tone poem based on this music with an original video animation synchronized to the tone poem released in 1991. Isao Tomita and Kunio Miyauchi also created the music for the tokusatsu SF/espionage/action TV series Mighty Jack, which aired in 1968. The same year, he co-founded Group TAC.[7]

By the late 1960s, Isao turned to electronic music with the impetus of Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog's work with synthesisers. Isao acquired a Moog III synthesizer and began building his home studio. He eventually realized that synthesizers could be used to create entirely new artificial sounds in addition to mimicking real instruments.[4] His experiments with electronic music would eventually spark a "revolution in synthesizer programming." His first electronic album was Electric Samurai: Switched on Rock, released in Japan in 1972 and in the United States in 1974. The album featured electronic renditions of contemporary rock and pop songs, while utilizing speech synthesis in place of a human voice. He then started arranging Claude Debussy's classical pieces for synthesizer and, in 1974, the album Snowflakes are Dancing was released; it became a worldwide success and was responsible for taking synth programming to new heights.

The album's contributions to electronic music included an ambience resembling a symphony orchestra, the use of reverberation, the use of phasing and flanging to create a spatial audio effect with stereo speakers, electronic surround sound using four speakers, realistic string simulations, portamento whistles, and abstract bell-like sounds created using ring modulation.[1] A particularly significant achievement was its polyphonic sound, which was created without the use of any polyphonic synthesizers (which were not yet commercially released). Tomita created the album's polyphonic sound by recording selections one part at a time, taking 14 months to produce the album. Tomita's modular human whistle sounds would also be copied in the presets of later electronic instruments.

He continued to release albums, of which the best known are his arrangements of classics, such as Igor Stravinsky's The Firebird, Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and Gustav Holst's The Planets. Tomita's albums Pictures at an Exhibition (1975), The Firebird Suite (1975) and Holst: The Planets (1976) introduced a new direction that infused classical synth music with dynamic futuristic music, while abandoning the note-by-note approach previously used in synthesized classical music in favour of polyphonic sounds. Holst: The Planets in particular introduced a science fiction space theme, a connection that had rarely been explored since the 1956 film Forbidden Planet.[2] This album sparked controversy on its release, as Imogen Holst, daughter of Gustav Holst, refused permission for her father's work to be interpreted in this way. The album was withdrawn, and is, consequently, rare in its original vinyl form.

While working on his classical synthesizer albums, Tomita continued composing numerous scores for Japanese television and films including the Zatoichi television series, two Zatoichi feature films, the Oshi Samurai (Mute Samurai) television series and the Toho science fiction disaster film, Catastrophe 1999, The Prophesies of Nostradamus (US title: Last Days of Planet Earth) in 1974. The latter blends synthesizer performances with pop-rock and orchestral instruments. It and a few other partial and complete scores of the period have been released on LP and later CD over the years in Japan.

In 1984, Tomita released Canon of the Three Stars, which featured classical pieces renamed for astronomical objects. For example, the title piece is his version of Pachelbel's Canon in D Major. He credits himself with "The Plasma Symphony Orchestra", which was a computer synthesizer process using the wave forms of electromagnetic emanations from various stars and constellations for the sonic textures of this album.

Tomita has performed a number of outdoor "Sound Cloud" concerts, with speakers surrounding the audience in a "cloud of sound". He gave a big concert in 1984 at the annual contemporary music Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria called "Mind of the Universe", live mixing tracks in a glass pyramid suspended over an audience of 80,000 people. In the late 1990s, he composed a hybrid orchestra plus synthesizer symphonic fantasy titled The Tale of Genji inspired by the eponymous old Japanese story. It was performed in concert by symphony orchestras in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London. A live concert CD version was released in 1999 followed by a studio version in 2000.

In 2001, Tomita collaborated with Walt Disney Company to compose the background atmosphere music for the AquaSphere entrance at the Tokyo DisneySea theme park outside Tokyo. His synthesizer score featuring acoustic soloists for the 2002 film The Twilight Samurai Tasogare Seibei won the 2003 Japanese Academy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music.The advent of the DVD-Audio format has allowed Tomita to further pursue his interests in multichannel audio with reworked releases of The Tale of Genji Symphonic Fantasy and The Tomita Planets 2003. In 2008, his Snowflakes are Dancing played in the background at the Disney World Resort, Epcot, World Showcase, Japan, Bijutzu-kan Gallery.

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One of the more satisfying classical/synthesizer debuts, Snowflakes Are Dancing works on its own terms as a piece of music. As well, the album succeeds as an interpretation of several Debussy compositions (including "Clair de Lune" and "Arabesque No. 1"). Debussy's atmospheric compositions are naturals to receive the Tomita treatment and despite a few moments of interstellar cheesiness worthy of Star Hustler, Tomita's debut is an intriguing proto-synthesizer-pop record.

Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing (Music Of Claude Debussy) ( flac 207mb)

01 Snowflakes Are Dancing (Children's Corner, No. 4) 2:11
02 Reverie 4:45
03 Gardens In The Rain (Estampes, No. 3) 3:42
04 Clair De Lune (Suite Bergamasque, No. 3) 5:48
05 Arabesque No. 1 3:58
06 Engulfed Cathedral (Preludes, Book I, No. 10) 6:19
07 Passepied (Suite Bergamasque, No. 4) 3:17
08 The Girl With The Flaxen Hair (Preludes, Book I, No. 8) 3:25
09 Golliwog's Cake Walk (Children's Corner, No. 6) 2:51
10 Footprints In The Snow (Preludes, Book I, No. 6) 4:35

Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing (Music Of Claude Debussy)  (ogg 92mb)

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Tomita.Isao Tomita has a real talent for transcribing classical music on the synthesizer. He adds much of his own personality to the new arrangements so they are not straight technical knockoffs. Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition takes on new meanings under Tomita's sensitive and sensible rendering. He is not re-inventing the wheel so all of the original drama and humor is there but the new hooks and riffs have moxy and their own senses of drama and humor. The ambient atmospheres and sci-fi textures give this version an outer space persona. It has become a stroll through an art gallery deep in the Milky Way. This is not quite Tomita's best work but it is close.

Tomita - Pictures At An Exhibition (Music Of Mussorgsky) ( flac 200mb)

01 Promenade: Gnomes 4:46
02 Promenade: The Old Castle 6:21
03 Promenade: Tuileries 1:28
04 Bydlo 3:17
05 Promenade: Ballet Of The Chicks In Their Shell 2:05
06 Samuel Goldenberg And Schmuyle 3:06
07 The Market Place At Limoges 1:13
08 Catacombs 2:38
09 Con Mortuis In Lingua Mortua 2:10
10 The Hut Of Baba Yaga 3:44
11 The Great Gate At Kiev 6:21

Tomita - Pictures At An Exhibition (Music Of Mussorgsky) (ogg 85mb)

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Stravinsky is one of the greatest of Russian composers as well as the crown prince of early 20th century modernist orchestral music. However, the synthesizer was before his time(though I have a sneaky suspicion that he would love them). Call me a philistine, but I think that Tomita's cover of the Firebird Suite is even more amazing than the original acoustic version. This music is no less classical than that produced by a traditional orchestra and one would hope that composers of orchestral music will feel inspired to write for electronic instruments. Particularly, "the infernal dance of King Kastchei" on this album sounds like it should be on the Star Wars soundtrack.It is exciting, scary, and LOUD - much more so than any performance by any orchestra. The Finale is so awesome; Tomita played it at the end of his live concerts.

Tomita - Firebird ( flac 228mb)

Stravinsky - Firebird Suite
01 Introduction 3:28
02 The Firebird And Its Dance 0:14
03 Variation Of The Firebird 1:19
04 The Round Of The Princesses 7:10
05 Infernal Dance Of King Kastchei 4:10
06 Lullaby 5:47
07 Finale 3:20
08 Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun 10:15
09 A Night On Bare Mountain 12:48

Tomita - Firebird (ogg 103mb)

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good choice - remember being blown away by " snowflakes"