Isao Tomita - Snowflakes Are Dancing (1974)

Riding the wave that originated with Walter/Wanda Carlos' "Switched On Bach" (a masterpiece of applying synthesizers to classical music) came Isao Tomita. The Japanese producer used a staggering array of state-of-the-art (at the time) synthesizers, including the same Moog that Carlos used on "Switched On Bach".

Tomita's subject for his synthesizer translation was Debussy, and I can't think of a better composer to be given this treatment. As one of masters at orchestration and timbre, I'm fully convinced that if Debussy was born today, he would be all over synthesizers.

Tomita's interpretations are fairly loose with their subject material in a fantastically creative way. Lush, rich soundscapes are created with his analog stallions, all retaining the evocative beauty that is inherent to Debussy's wonderfulness.

9 Responses so far.

  1. Somnium says:

    Hmmm. Pretty sure this album is called Snowflakes Are Dancing.
    Not "falling" :)

  2. DHint says:

    This is awesome! Are there any Ravel recordings like this? Uh like Pavane, Sonatine, or Gaspard de la nuit? Thanks for the awesome posts!!!

  3. Will says:

    @DHint: I don't believe Tomita did any Ravel (which is too bad--he'd be a great fit for Tomita's synthesized translations, but Tomita's other material is pretty killer. In particular, his first couple albums after "Snowflakes" are worth checking out: Stravinski's "Firebird", as well as "Pictures at an Exhibition", and Host's "The Planets" are all at least as good as this one.
    I just opted for this one since I'm a sucker for Debussy.

  4. Will says:

    @DHint: Though, on the topic of Ravel, you might be into this:

  5. DHint says:

    Thanks Will! I'll check those out.

  6. DHint says:

    Well I feel a little stupid right now. It took two minutes of internet research to find this Tomita album, Its just what I was looking for. Check it out.

    Isao Tomita The Ravel Album (1979)

  7. Vale says:

    Thank you for this one, my favorite song ever is Clair de Lune and Tomita's version is the best discovery of the year! thank you! Keep the japanese coming.

  8. Andrew says:

    This is one of my favourite albums ever. "Arabesque No. 1" was used as the theme for PBS's "The Star Hustler" — a short filler about astronomy. And "Golliwog's Cakewalk" showed up on a British kids' TV show called "Peanuts and Popcorn." Loved both pieces as a child, and when I finally stumbled on this album in my early 20's, it blew my mind. All of Tomita's stuff is good, but I'd have to say this is the cream of the crop.

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