Isao Tomita Has Died At The Age Of 84


Synthesist Isao Tomita – best known for a series of albums featuring synthesizer arrangements of classical works – has died at the age of 84.

Tomita (22 April 1932 – 5 May 2016) died of chronic cardiac failure, with family at his bedside.  Continue reading

Last Chance On Interstellar Suite Surround Sound Collectors Edition

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Composer & synthesist Amin Bhatia is wrapping up an Indiegogo campaign for the 25th anniversary re-release of his Interstellar Suite.

The Interstellar Suite is a cult favorite for fans of classitronica and symphonic electronica. The Suite was inspired by the arrangements of Wendy Carlos and Isao Tomita, but is an original score.

Bhatia is offering a variety of editions of the release, ranging from a digital binaural version to a DVD version and some collector editions.

The campaign ends Thu Nov 15 at 11:59PM PT. See the Indiegogo site for details.

Isao Tomita To Premier Work With Virtual Singer Miku

Electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita, 80, has announced he will feature a virtual singer Hatsune Miku as the main singer in his upcoming orchestra concert on November 23rd at Tokyo Opera City Hall in Tokyo.

His new piece Ihatov Symphony, which expresses the world of Kenji Miyazawa’s novel, will be performed by Japan Philharmonic Orchestra with a conductor Naoto Otomo. Miku will appear on stage as 3D image and sing and dance in time to music.

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Isao Tomita Interview

Electronic music pioneer Isao Tomita is featured in a new interview with YMO’s Hideki Matsutake.

In the interview, Tomita talks about how he got interested in electronic music and synthesizers, his seminal classitronica albums, Moog modular synths and more.

Tomita notes that he was inspired by what he saw as both the strengths and weaknesses of the classic Walter Carlos album, Switched-On Bach:

In the ’70s, I discovered the Moog synthesizer, and came across Walter Carlos’ album Switched-On Bach. Rock bands like Emerson Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd and Yes would also use Minimoog in their music later on, but while they merely incorporated the Moog sound into their rock music, Walter Carlos built an entire album around the synthesizer. That idea totally blew my mind.

But the thing is, Bach’s music can be replayed on any instrument, as long as it’s in tune, and I felt that Switched-On Bach’s sound could have been better. If you’re gonna use something like a Moog synthesizer, you have to tweak the tone and put out something incredible.

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Arranging Classitronica – Mike Leghorn On His Synth Version Of Holst’s The Planets

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Sonic State’s Nick Batt talks with Mike Leghorn, who is currently working on a new synthesized arrangement of Gustav Holst’s The Planets.

The Planets has been a popular work with synthesists, since Isao Tomita released his arrangement of it in the 70’s.

Leghorn discusses working from a MIDI version of the score, creating an orchestral electronica arrangement, synth orchestration and tackling a large classical work.

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The Lost Episode Of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos – The Meat Planet

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 OT: Many Synthtopia readers have previously related the life-changing impact of Carl Sagan’s late 70’s PBS show, Cosmos.

The show prominently featured music by popular electronic music pioneers, including Vangelis, Larry Fast, and Isao Tomita. And it paired the music with spacey visuals that were, at least for the day, pretty mind-blowing.

For many readers, it was the first time that they’d heard this sort of music and it started a life-long exploration for new sounds.

We expect that few readers, though, will be familiar with this particular episode, The Meat Planet. In this episode, Sagan takes us on a journey to the often misunderstood Meat Planet, examining its origins, geological activity and atmosphere, among many other unsettling details.

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New Synthesized Version Of Holst’s The Planets

We’ve been following reader Mike Leghorn‘s progress on a new synthesized version of Holst’s The Planets with interest.

The Planets has been arranged for synths may times, notably by Patrick Gleeson and Isao Tomita. But, just as different conductors and performers can bring out different facets of classical works, new classitronica arrangements reveal something about the state of synthesis, changes in styles & the ear or the performer.

The latest  addition to Leghorn’s version of The Planets is his performance of the vivacious Jupiter.