martes, 8 de diciembre de 2009

Isao Tomita - Kosmos (1978)

Isao Tomita is a brilliant interpreter. He has transcribed several classical and orchestral works for the synthesizer. Kosmos is a slick album of those works that translate well to Tomita's spacescapes and his visionary style. These pieces had acoustic atmospheric resonance in their original formats. Tomita's synthesized versions have all of the original bravado and essence and he has added ambient atmospheres to give each piece new meaning and depth. The modernized pieces are genuine spacescapes.

The disc opens, somewhat predictably, with John Williams' "Star Wars Theme." Tomita's lighthearted version adds humor to the piece. Track two, "Space Fantasy," just might be Tomita's best work. He combines elements from "Thus Spake Zoroaster" by Richard Strauss and "Ride of the Valkyries" and "Tannhauser Overture," both by Richard Wagner. The depth of this performance on this is amazing. Arthur Honegger's "Pacific 231" is an excellent transitional piece. Experimental sounds give it an avant-garde feel. "The Unanswered Question" by Charles Ives is pure atmospheric minimalism in both its original and electronic form.

Ives was a risk-taker and one of the foremost avant-garde composers of his time; he would like this treatment. Rodrigo's "Aranjuez" takes on new beauty and character in Tomita's translation. Teamed with Ives' piece and the next piece, this is the travel and exploration leg of the journey. Edvard Grieg's "Solveig's Song" from "The Peer Gynt Suite" has tremendous atmospheric qualities also. While the journey continues, so does the beauty. "Hora Staccato" represents an end or a milestone of the journey. This Grigoras Dinicu/Jascha Heifetz piece is brisk and energetic. "The Sea Named Solaris" is based on Johann Sebastian Bach's "Three Part Invention, No. 2" and"Ich Ruf zu Dir, Jesu Christ." Tomita also wrote some of the music for this piece. It is a beautiful finish to a wondrous journey. This is one of the strongest albums in Tomita's discography. Only the work of Wendy Carlos can compare to Tomita's work.

Review by Jim Brenholts

Label: RCA Red Seal
Catalog#: ARL1-2616
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1978
Genre: Electronic

Track list:

1 Star Wars (Main Title)
2 Space Fantasy
3 Pacific 231
4 The Unanswered Question

5 Aranjuez
6 Peer Gynt: Solveig's Song
7 Hora Staccato
8 The Sea Named "Solaris"

Isao Tomita - electronics


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