Apr 14, 2013

Sundaze 1315

Hello, we stay in the East for a rising sun Sundaze post today , not just any sunset but classically inspired ones in a futuristic space setting. Tomita had to invent the techniques he used quaon vinyl and at his soundcloud concerts you can 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 music and 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 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.

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. 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. 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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This album was also released as 'The Tomita Planets' and 'The Planets (Deluxe Edition)'. Patrick Gleeson, who did several classical synthesizer albums using the Emu Modular synthesizer, released his own version of Holst's 'The Planets' on Mercury Records. There was some consternation at RCA and Mercury that both artists had worked unknown to each other on a synthesizer version of the same piece. 'The Tomita Planets' was more than likely so named in the USA to avoid the confusion the record companies were fearful of.

Tomita 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.

Tomita is telling a story here using electronic music and effects, and he does a fantastic job of it! If the other reviewers just listened without all the judgenent they could see a story unfold in their minds through the awesome expressivness of Tomita's sounds. It goes like this: two friends blast off in space ships, they patrol around, they get some r&r, then there is a huge space battle and one of them gets lost. The other pilot calls to his friend, they can barely hear each other and the lost one knows he isn't coming back. Together they sing their planetary anthem, then the lost guy is taken by a space storm.

'The Planets' was taken out of market for a few years by court order from Gustav Holst's relatives. They claimed that Tomita had manhandled their father's great composition, and the record company withdrew some 30,000 records from the stores. Despite this, 'The Planets' is arguably Tomita's most complete and popular work, and was listed as one of the best keyboard albums over the past 20 years or so by Keyboard Magazine.

Tomita - The Planets (Music Of Holst) ( flac 277mb)

01 Mars: The Bringer Of War 10:58
02 Venus: The Bringer Of Peace 9:20
03 Mercury: The Winged Messenger 4:37
04 Jupiter: The Bringer Of Jollity / Saturn: The Bringer Of Old Age 17:29
05 Uranus: The Magician / Neptune: The Mystic 9:48

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This album is an outstanding piece of work - definately the spaciest of all Tomita's albums and one that was very influential to my life in my late teens. The craftmanship on show here is remarkable, especially as this was made in 1979, this was really pioneering stuff that is as fresh today as it was then. Anyone who is interested in electronic music ahould have some Tomita in their collection and this one comes recommended - even though this is one of Tomita's most frenetic and energy driven albums there are plenty of delicate and beautiful moments intertwined therein. This particular CD has been remastered to a higher bit rate than the previous release.

Tomita - The Bermuda Triangle ( flac 264mb)

01 A Space Ship Lands Emitting Silvery Light (The Arrival of a UFO) 2:23
02 Electromagnetic Waves Descend (Prokofiev: "Romeo And Juliet" Suite No.2) 1:29
03 A World Of Different Dimensions (Sibelius: Valse Triste) 2:04
04 The Giant Pyramid And Its Ancient People (Prokofiev: Scythian Suite) 7:04
05 Venus In A Space Uniform Shining In Fluorescent Light (Williams: Close Encounters) 4:40
06 Space Children In The Underground Kingdom Called Agharta (Prokofiev: Symphony No.5: 2nd Movement) 5:30
07 The Earth - A Hollow Vessel (Tomita: Dororo) 5:01
08 The Song Of Venus (Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1: 1st Movement) 3:55
09 Dawn Over The Triangle And Mysterious Electric Waves (Prokofiev: Symphony No.6: 1st Movement) 2:20
10 The Dazzling Cylinder That Crashed In Tunguska, Siberia (Prokofiev: Symphony No.6: 1st Movement) 7:30
11 The Harp Of The Ancient People With Songs Of Venus And Space Children (Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No.1: 3rd Movement) 7:37
12 The Visionary Flight To The 1448 Nebular Group Of The Bootes (Tomita: Departure Of The UFO/Prokofiev: Scythian Suite/Yamamoto: Vocoder) 4:10

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The Grand Canyon Suite is a suite for orchestra by Ferde Grofé, composed during the period from 1929 to 1931. It consists of five parts or movements, each an evocation in tone of a particular scene typical of the Grand Canyon. Paul Whiteman and his orchestra introduced the first public performance of the work, initially titled "Five Pictures of the Grand Canyon", in concert at the Studebaker Theatre in Chicago on November 22, 1931.

The album in which Tomita acquired a Synclavier II, a hugely expensive music production system. Its advanced sampling capabilities accounted for the 'real' instrument sounds. Great digital thunderstorm effects, in the debut appearance of the 'Plasma Symphony Orchestra'.

Tomita and The Plasma Symphony Orchestra - Grand Canyon Suite ( flac 151mb)

Grand Canyon Suite (32:53)
01 Sunrise (5:12)
02 Painted Desert (6:53)
03 On the Trail (7:07)
04 Sunset (4:37)
05 Cloudburst (8:44)

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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.

The album includes 7 pieces from previous albums- some with new arrangements and Live Soloists. Plus 5 Totally New Pieces... Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring. Japanese Traditional: Cranes In Their Nest. Vaughn Williams: The Lark Ascending. Wagner: Tristan Und Isolde-Liebestod. Beethoven: Ode To Joy with full Choir and soloists.). It contains some of the most beautiful and unique performances ever put on a disk. The live violin solo (Mariko Senju) of the Lark Ascending is by far the most captivating, lovely, and perfect I have ever heard; the best performance of The Lark Ascending that I know of. The same violinist does an outstanding job on Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1: Moderato; Allegro Moderato. This is the part of The Bermuda Triangle near the end that gets so exciting, and with the live violinist and Tomita's magical orchestral creations, it is truly one of the most thrilling musical experiences.

Tomita - The Mind of the Universe ( flac 333mb)

01 Also Sprach Zarathustra: Opening 2:13
02 The Planets: Saturn, The Bringer Of Old Age 3:49
03 The Rite Of Spring: Dance Of The Young Girls 3:13
04 Cranes In Their Nest 4:36
05 Daphnis And Chloe Suite No. 2: General Dance 3:50
06 The Lark Ascending 7:15
07 Close Encounters Of The Third Kind 3:09
08 Violin Concerto No. 1: Third Movement, Moderato 7:45
09 Tristan Und Isolde: Liebestod 7:37
10 The Planets: Mars, The Bringer Of War 7:10
11 Symphony No. 9: "Ode To Joy" 18:36
12 Firebird Suite: Finale 1:16

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Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rho, great Tomita & Zenzile. BTW, how about a tribute to Pete Namlook/FAX (RIP, 1960-2012)?

Rho said...

Hello Anon, thanks as for Pete Namlook i'm aware he died last November. However last time I posted some of his work it got taken down quickly, obviously there was active policing going on. Not sure what kind of heirs he has some can be greedy and ignorant of the benefits of being posted. He has been posted here before, Sundaze 48, 1143, 1207, 1208 so it's not as if forgot about him and I do have plenty of Fax on hold for the moment, so expect more Namlook in the future.

Cass said...

A re-up would be most appreciated please, Rho - when time allows.

Paul C said...

Seconded on a reup please Rho.

Cass said...

Awesome! Thanks, Rho :)

Emblem said...

A reup would be great, Rho.

Thank you very much.