Isao Tomita

By | May 10, 2016

As you may well have heard, Japan’s master synthesist Isao Tomita passed away on the 5th of May. There’s nothing that need be added to the many eulogies that have been published on the Web, but Tomita’s mastery of sound creation on analogue synthesisers cannot be overstated. Nor should we overlook his skill as an arranger who brought his knowledge of orchestral dynamics to bear on the layering of electronic sounds by bouncing mixes between his various tape recorders.

Abomination of Yondo‘s second album That Remote and Awful Twilight, released in 2012, has one track that is dedicated to Tomita, which seemed appropriate largely because of my obsessive, but, I think, at least partly successful, attempt to emulate what we might call his “accelerating spaceship” effect, as heard, for instance, in his arrangement of Holst’s Planet Suite. I think I still have a great deal to learn from listening to his records. If you would like to find out more about how Tomita worked on his early albums, his LP Sound Creature (did they perhaps mean ‘Sound Creator’?), released by RCA Japan in 1977, is highly recommended.

RIP Isao Tomita 22 April 1932 – 5 May 2016