Synthesis Legend Isao Tomita Dies Age 84

Inspirational synthesist working till the end      09/05/16

Synthesis Legend Isao Tomita Dies Age 84


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Tomita inspired a generation of modern synthesists and artists to push the boundaries of electronic music as he did. His interpretative works of classical pieces using a large Moog modular system at it's core,  resulted in international sales and acclaim.

After being influenced by Wendy Carlos's work with the Moog Synthesizer, indeed Tomita bought his own custom Moog - based on the IIIP and put it to good use -  in 1974 the album Snowflakes are Dancing featured some groundbreaking sound design and programming which set the bar for using synthesizers in both emulative roles - creating some highly authentic (for the time) string and orchestral sounds and also for its unique, cutting edge modern sounds and pushing the boundaries of stereo processing: ambience, reverb and mixing. During the the epic recording sessions for this album, Tomita slept little and would sometimes record up to 100 overdubs to get the sound just so.

Interestingly, though of course he has used a great deal of other technology since then, Tomita has been using the same synthesizer throughout his career, recently stating - "It is still giving me possibilities and opportunities through the infinite variety of sounds it can produce"

Snowflakes Are Dancing topped the Billboard Classical and LP Charts in 1974, and was nominated for 4 Grammies. it features some beautiful interpretations of Claude Debussy's works including the memorable Clair De Lune, and for the first time shows some quite unusual vocal-esque synth sounds.

Tomita went on to release many more works, pushing the boundaries of what could be done with synthesizers and multi-track recording. Up until recently he was still working - his current and sadly unfinished project was Dr Coppelius - was nearing completion.

Although he did reach the ripe old age of 84, he will be sadly missed. His influence on many electronic artists cannot be underestimated.

Eric Persing of Spectrasonics wrote "His unique approach to synthesizer orchestration remains a truly original voice in the vocabulary of electronic music. There was no one like him and the music he created will live on and be studied for generations to come."

Isao Tomita 22 April 1932 – 5 May 2016


 

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