Sunday, March 3, 2013

Isao Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing: Electronic Performances of Debussy's Tone Paintings (1974)

Isao Tomita is a Japanese synthesizer-guru famous for arranging famous romantic, expressionist and modern classical pieces to the electric synthesizer. Of course, this statement alone sounds bland by itself but that is where Tomita's genius comes in. Tomita very cleverly unclusters every one of Debussy's waterfall-esque  verses into a futurist blue landscape of elegance and rush.  
Starting out with the 4th movement from the "Children's Corner" suite, we can immediately tell what Tomita is up to; the notes sound a bit more rushed than the original and instead of seeming to describe snow it seem to describe hail. Debussy's rhythm section turns into a repetitive out of key bent synthesizer note that puts a point at the end of each hail-verse. The fourth track is the classic and timeless third movement from "Suite Bergamesque"; "Claire de Lune", Tomita's parsimony is precise and honourable to such an exquisite standard. Notes mantle each other with their echoes, the bassier section is treated with extra futurist customization, as the track advances so do the notes' tones and textures creating an epic sound-scape that isn't by any mean's disgraceful the original version, Tomita ends this track with such passion and glory as the notes from the next track, Debussy's first Arabesque, intrudes. This time Tomita decides to treat the bass harmonies as bobble heads and the other sections as whistles and falling Tetris blocks. 
The album continues with selections from Debussy's 12 Préludes, some more movements from the already mentioned suites, and the colourful symphonic 10-minute poem "Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun". Every single track on this album is a polished, dainty analysis of Debussy's pieces. Tomita successfully decomposed and rejuvenated these pieces into statements of almost post-apocalyptic futurist beauty. A strong bond of yesterday and tomorrow with mutual respect and admiration. 

1 comment: