Isao Tomita Interview From RBMA Tokyo 2014

The latest interview from Red Bull Music Academy features composer and synthesist Isao Tomita, best known for his classitronica albums.

The discussion, in Japanese with subtitles, was held on October 13 as part of RBMA Tokyo 2014.

Isao Tomita Interview Summary:

In electronic music, it’s hard to exaggerate the importance of Isao Tomita’s work.

Born in Japan in the 1930s, Tomita imagined other worlds – seemingly outwith his own, human reach – and so used his music to explore the unknown.

In the 1960s, he pioneered the use of the Moog synthesizer to not just create note-for-note facsimiles of “real” music, but to re-figure electronic compositions as soundscapes; creating daring new sounds that would become highly influential for science fiction cinema soundtracks, modern synth pop, and much more. Synth nerds, movie fans and music producers alike can all take inspiration from his work, and words.

8 thoughts on “Isao Tomita Interview From RBMA Tokyo 2014

  1. This guy is the SynthGod of SynthGods. What he managed to do back then to produce the masterpieces he did was staggering. While everyone else was producing fart noises and plinky plonk Moog (Carlos included) he blew everyone out the water with his precisely constructed sounds and arrangements that were light years ahead of the others. I listened to him as a kid when this type of synth music was uncool. I’m glad I did.

    1. No slight intended to Tomita, but his Snowflakes was about 6 years after SOB, so it was contemporary to stuff like Autobahn, rather than SOB.

  2. Having an elegant Japanese take on synths has made the field better in general. I don’t compare him with Carlos, whose work has an occidental tone. Tomita offers a unique Oriental lilt in his works, perhaps a bit akin to Japanese synths having high-pass filters before most anyone else offered them. Its a tonal thing, literally. More importantly, while both honored the classical works they produced, put Carlos’s “What’s New, Pussycat?” in one hand and Tomita’s “The Ballet of the Chicks In Their Shells” in the other. Those great instances of genuine musical humor tell their tales more vividly than all of the more sober pieces combined. IMO, that’s what really makes them icons. Someone who is usually a dramatist shows their real scope when they can laugh, too.

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