Apr 21, 2013

Sundaze 1316

Hello, as i have been running late all day (just one of those days things go wrong)  it's no surprise that even posting a third Sundaze with Tomita in the picture has me having to hurry. Still I have some time to tell you something I noticed recently and that is visitor numbers from the UK have been dropping so much so that they are being 'caught' by the Japanese. It's true that I've seen many a visitor from the land of the rising sun, which in itself is remarkble or maybe their knowledge of English has been rising considerbly. Anyway i fear that the Brits have been intimidated again by the haves, I feel for you guys..

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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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Tomita has a colorful and fanciful interpretation of classical music in his repertoire, but "Storm from the East" demonstrates the beauty of his original compositions.. It's the soundtrack to a fascinating story about the wonderful land of GREAT KHAN, Mongolia.

Isao Tomita - Storm from the East ( flac 226mb)

01 Main Theme 1:44
02 Mongolian Fantasy 1: East Afar 2:58
03 Legend Of Saviour 2:04
04 Messenger From Tartar 2:21
05 King Prester John - An Abyssinian Eidolon 3:03
06 Memories Of Pale Earth 2:38
07 Dazzling Dark 2:54
08 Etheral View 2:52
09 Wind Of Great Plains 4:40
10 Requiem Of Plains 3:55
11 Mongolian Fantasy 2: Flash Of Shining Glory 2:21
12 Messenger From Inferno 2:26
13 Theme Of Akhai 2:34
14 Mongolian Fantasy 3: Land Of Great Khan 6:54
15 Ending Theme 2:21

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This is a creative collaboration, between Tomita, Kodo wich is a Japanese ensemble performing traditional drums, and the Peruvian five-member group Kusillaqta (the quena, the traditional flutes of Peru, are prominent). The disc was recorded in 1994. It takes its title from the huge and mysterious patterns in Nasca (or Nazca), Peru.

The result? Well, you can easily imagine. New age world music. Rythmic and energetic drumming for the adrenalin (plus some raucous Japanese shouts in some tracks), cute Peruvian folk flutes for the prettiness, Tomita adding his synthesized gravy, vocal and quasi-string choruses. It doesn't have, and by far, the sonic imagination of Tomita's arrangements of the classics, but it is agreeable, easy-listening, and should appeal to fans of world music.

Isao Tomita and Kodo - Nasca Fantasy ( flac 262mb)

01 Gigantic Geometric Patterns 5:17
02 Song Of The Universe 5:37
03 El Humahuaqueno 8:39
04 City Under The Desert 5:24
05 Dansa From "Bachianas Brasileiras No.2" 6:50
06 Echoes From The Andes 4:56
07 Pulsar 5:16
08 Straight Line 6:09

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Written in the 11th-century by Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is considered to be the world's first novel and the most important example of ancient Japanese literature. This massive tome documents the life and times of Genji, a favorite of the Emperor of the Heian Era, and explores the themes of love, affection, friendship; its episodic progression details, among complications, Genji's many trysts and his varied efforts to sate the sexual drive. Although little is known of its composition, it is theorized that The Tale of Genji was scribed as Murasaki's diary while she lived at the court.

Isao Tomita, known best for his electronic renditions of the classical canon, has taken this paragon of literature and adapted it as a symphonic suite. Alongside orchestral strings and the usual synthesizer flourishes, Tomita appropriately incorporates a strong Japanese-traditional core to the music: zither-plucking, shrill flute notes, Joruri-style wailing. Ears unfamiliar to Japanese traditional might find this recording "strange" and "scary"; indeed, the use of atonal can send shivers down the spine, even when it is tempered with string-work... And yet, I find Tomita's intricate meld of western and eastern composition to be a bewitching, constantly involving aural treat: Genji surges and sighs with appropriate dynamic tension, and the more fragile arrangements can be breathtaking in their seemingly-simplistic depth.

Isao Tomita - The Tale Of Genji, Symphonic Fantasy ( flac 329mb)

01 Overture 2:29
02 Spring Season - Cherry Blossom Viewing At The Palace 8:01
03 Temple Prayers In The Northern Hill 4:51
04 Lovely Maiden Murasaki 4:50
05 Lady Aoi And Lady Rokujou 8:43
06 Spirit 9:18
07 Ukifune By The Uji River In Snow 11:47
08 Entering The Nunnery 9:06
09 Spring Returns 6:45

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Anonymous said...

"intimdated by the haves" what are 'haves' ???

Geoff said...

Hi could you re-up Isao Tomita please? Thanks.

Geoff said...

Thanks again.