R.I.P. Isao Tomita

Hailing frequencies open… Forums Media Music R.I.P. Isao Tomita

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by ubikuberalles ubikuberalles 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #1950

    I loved Tomita‘s music. And so did you if you ever whistled along with his version of Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1 at the beginning of “Star Hustler” on PBS (which wasn’t whistling, by the way – it was a synth. Tomita was the Wendy Carlos of Japan.) [LINK]

    Isao Tomita, the synthesizer pioneer who composed the score for Tezuka Osamu’s anime “Kimba the White Lion” and NHK drama “Hana no Shogai,” died of heart failure Thursday at Tokyo Metropolitan Hiroo Hospital. He was 84.

    On Sunday, a message on Tomita’s official Facebook page said he was working on a new musical titled “Dr. Coppelius” and that he knew he might not see it finished.

    “My priority right now is staying healthy, but I’d like to finish ‘Dr. Coppelius’ as much as possible so that, even if something happens to me, others could finish it,” Tomita told The Japan Times last December.

    A private funeral on Saturday and Sunday was attended by close family members only.

    Tomita helped spread electronic music in Japan after importing a Moog III synthesizer in 1971, when the instruments were expensive and rarely used.

    He was a noted influence on the nation’s other noted electronic music pioneers, including Ryuichi Sakamoto of the techno-pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra.

    The album “Snowflakes are Dancing,” which covers the music of French composer Claude Debussy, topped Billboard’s classical music chart in 1974 and was nominated for four Grammy Awards, making him the first Japanese to be nominated.

    Tomita had recently been working on projects that experimented with virtual diva Hatsune Miku, a singing computer program produced by Crypton Future Media.

    The first such project, “Symphony Ihatov,” premiered in 2012 after being inspired by writer Kenji Miyazawa’s novels. It featured Miku singing along with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra.

    Arigato, Mr. Tomita.

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    Well, that sucks. I’m a big fan of his works, although I only have three or four of his albums. In the 1980’s I owned two cassette tapes (Snowflakes are Dancing and Bermuda Triangle) and I played them constantly. Many times I would turn off the lights, lie down on my couch or bed, put on the headphones and listen quietly to the music. I still have those cassettes even though they are a little tone dead now.

    A couple years ago I attempted to add Tomita to my Amazon Cloud library and, sadly, I was only able to find three MP3 albums (Snowflakes are Dancing, Kosmos and the Planets). I didn’t buy any CDs at the time (not sure why) and my only vinyl is his greatest hits album which makes my current collection very sparse indeed.

    I improved on the situation just now by buying the Firebird CD and the Bermuda Triangle CD (after all, I only have it on cassette) and I’ll get them on Wednesday. Once I get them I’ll upload them to my cloud account, dim the lights, lie down on my couch, put on the headphones and say farewell to Isao while listening to his music.

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    Well, I got all the CDs I ordered and I’ve been listening to them, usually when I go to bed at night. Eventually, I’ll rip them and upload them to my Amazon Cloud account so I can play them at work.

    Before I got the CDs, I was listening to my old cassettes. That was an interesting experience as I haven’t played those tapes in at least five years. I rewound the tapes once or twice to de-stickify them but that apparently had little effect. The first 20 seconds or so of the music was r…e…a…l…l…y….s…l..o…w.., and then the speed wavered and it started playing normally. God forbid I stop the tape for even a second: when I would hit play again, I would get a repeat performance of the slow speed. Ahhh, the good old days.

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