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Tomita

Pioneering Japanese composer and synthesizer expert Isao Tomita bridged the gap between note-by-note classical/electronic LPs like Switched-On Bach and the more futuristic, user-friendly interfaces developed in the 1970s. After creating one of the first personal recording studios with an array of top synthesizer gear in the early '70s, Tomita applied his visions for space-age synthesizer music to his favorite modern composers -- Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Maurice Ravel -- though his recordings steered a course far beyond the sterile academics of Wendy Carlos and other synthesists. Born in Tokyo in 1932, Tomita grew up in China as well as Japan, studying composition and music theory as well as art history at Keio University. After graduation in 1955, Tomita began composing film, television and theater music. He was awarded frequently during the 1950s and '60s, and became perhaps the most well-known contemporary Japanese composer.

By the early '70s, Isao Tomita was introduced to the seminal work of synthesizer gurus Wendy Carlos and Robert Moog, sparking his own interest in synthesized music. In 1973, he formed the electronic collective Plasma Music with musicians Kinji Kitashoji and Mitsuo Miyamoto, and spent more than a year stocking his home studio with electronics gear (including the Moog III used for Carlos' Switched-On Bach). Tomita's first album, 1974's Snowflakes Are Dancing, electrified the Japanese public and even translated to an American classical audience, where it was nominated for four Grammy awards. Successive albums Pictures at an Exhibition, The Firebird Suite and his masterpiece Holst: The Planets infused the classical-synthesizer fusion craze of the 1970s with genuinely exciting, futuristic music instead of the bland, note-by-note translations favored by less visionary musicians. The Planets re-invoked the connection between synthesizer music and science fiction first broached in the 1956 film Forbidden Planet.

Tomita began incorporating digital synth and early MIDI setups with 1982's Grand Canyon, and completely gutted his studio during the next two years during the transition from analogue to digital with his Casio Cosmo system. Though he recorded more sparingly than in the 1970s, Tomita made frequent appearances at enormous concerts, including his 1984 Austrian show Mind of the Universe before 80,000 people and at the Statue of Liberty centennial celebration two years later. Tomita was also awarded the honorary presidency of the Japan Synthesizer Programmers Association. ~ John Bush, Rovi
full bio

Comments

beneamata
Heard his incredible version of The Planets first. As is noted by the artist bio on Pandora it was more than a bland electro-cove r . It was bursting with a vibrant joy and passion that few synthesizer albums have ever had.

If you like Tomita also check out Stomu Yamashta and Go. More jazz/rock-or i e n t e d but almost equally enthralling in its unadulterate d vigor and emotion.
They are playing Venus- Bringer of Peace now. Holst must be smiling. I am, too.
yes Walter Carlos was the first
Agree! Bermuda Triangle,Fir e b i r d and Cosmos are three of his best! PLEASE include.
My goodness...w h a t kind of glorious music is this?
Love the fact that. No one else can do music like this kind anymore. It will stay simple and original for ever, thank you TOMITA!
The subtle inherent beauty of Debussy as interpreted by the brilliant Tomita using those wonderful, analog keyboards and effects remains without parallel, all these years later. Snowflakes are Dancing was and is so (fill in your own superlative) , it still leaves me speechless and smiling.
mecatunot
This music takes me to another place and time. Enables me to get papers written without all the brain fatigue.
pandora3662
It's unfair for the reviewer to use the term less visionary, pointing at W. Carlos since no other artist is named. You can't get to Einstein without Newton, and you can't get to Tomita without Carlos.
PS. Mort Garson
Tonto's Expanding Head Band
14739578
Tomita was the best at his Craft just like Kieth Emerson at his
Please add the Catastrophe: 1999 soundtrack.
jf636y
I first heard Clair De Lune in 1974 and became an instant fan. Oddly it was introduced on KSHE Real Rock radio in St. Louis. Thank you Isao Tomita and thank you KSHE.
Many of Tomita's albums have been released on CD. Amazon Marketplace is probably the best place to find them, including ones that weren't released in the U.S. For a complete list of all his albums, go to www.isaotomi t a . n e t .
cac_mike
ISAO TOMITA IS THE SYNTH DEMI GOD THAT ALL OTHER SYNTHESIZER ARTISTS GET DOWN ON THERE HANDS AND KNEE'S AND PRAY THAT THEY MAY ONE DAY BE AS GOOD AS TOMITA'S LEFT HAND ALONE. BUT EVEN THEN, THEY KNOW IN THERE HEART'S IT WON'T HAPPEN. ISAO TOMITA I LOVE YOU. BY THE WAY IN MY INFINITESIMA L OPINION THE BEST ALBUM THAT HE EVER MADE- HANDS DOWN THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE.... . .
robbo06
I study music synthesis and Tomita is my hero. His texturing and use of effects generation of classical music is unique and different. I never seriously thought that such a merger of influences could be involved with classical music but, Tomita made it happen.
I can't say enough good things about Tomita. If I were a woman, I would have like 500 of his children. <3
I've yet to come across any of my friends who listened to Tomita. Had the Snowflakes LP, where is it now? Thanx 4 info on the oher works. Still cool, although 'not for every taste'-Peace , L o v e , W o o d s t o c k . . .
I've been a fan of Tomita's music since the mid-70's. I love the twists Tomita places in the scores that he interprets. My favorite single album is, by far, is Ravel: Daphne & Chloe, followed closely by just about everything else!
cpm12
Didn't Isao Tomita do the soundtrack of the movie Twilight Samurai?
i found one of his out of print cds in perfect mint condition at Half Price Books and grabbed it right away, got very lucky, a true genius in music.
I recently bought some Tomita LPs at a record store because I remember hearing his version of something from Debussy's Children's Corner Suite, if I remember correctly. Wow, what an awesome musician. And I like the fact that his records list all of the equipment he used. It's amazing that he was able to combine so many different pieces of equipment into a very coherent, interesting sound.
rlaw120
I remember when Tomita put on a live performance in Battery Park in NYC in the 80's. It was my first time hearing and seeing him perform. Let me know if u were there.
chief_do5
Can anyone get me a copy of Firebird by Tomita
jblank4
I agree with Scott. Wendy Carlos is exciting in her own way. I love Switched on Bach as well as her incredibly creepy soundtrack for The Shining.
Would you believe Isao Tomita wrote the theme song for Kimba, The White Lion (an early television anime show here in the States) back in the 70's.
I love it! But I don't agree with Walter/Wendy being called sterile.
beachmike1
I came across TOmita back in 1975. The only other pperson except Dave the guy who turned me onto this was oddly my nephew who mentioned Tomita in passing a few years back.Odd how this art has comppletely crossed 30 years.
Yeah, Kosmos is probably my favorite album of his, and Bermuda Triangle is also pretty awesome. They are true sonic masterpieces , although not for all tastes.
I agree absolutely with the first comment. Also, missing are Kosmos (my own first introduction to Tomita), and The Bermuda (Devil's?) Triangle.
jb4786
Seriously missing the Firebird Suite album, a major hole that Pandora needs to plug!
johnvalen3
Without equal!

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