Isao Tomita - Arabesque No.1

I haven't done a regular song write-up for a while which is a shame because that is what this blog was started for. I collect so many songs (a lot of which end up on the radio) so I had better get on with posting them here! I was surrounded by 'classical music' as a child but abandoned it somewhat as I grew older and  caught up in my own interests. However, I was - and still am - totally aware of how much 'classical music' has informed my musical tastes: so much of the music I love uses orchestral instruments or complex arrangements. Obviously 'classical music' is a Western tradition, but even when approaching music from Africa or Asia or the Pacific Islands or wherever else I am still guided by these tastes. Somewhere down the line I have also developed a huge taste for the 'folk' musics of a time and place. I am fascinated by the social, economic, political, cultural contexts in which music is made and the idea that a certain music - as much as it may share with the music of another time or place - is entirely its own thing; the product of certain circumstances. A long diversion, but this all brings me to this post's featured piece of music: Isao Tomita's interpretation of Debussy's 'Arabesque No.1'. Tomita was a Japanese pioneer of electronic music, experimenting with synthesisers (namely the Moog) as early as the late 1960s. His recordings capture the nuance and tone of Debussy's work, but also incorporates a sense of playfulness. Some of the sounds here are so fun - chirpy synthetic brushstrokes mimicking whistling, bell chimes, icicles and water. With its electronic innovation and the Japanese obsession with synthesisers, I can only really conclude that this could only have been made in the time that it was.

Label: RCA
Year: 1974
Genre: Classical, Electronica, Experimental

Resonance FM 21/5/15

Thursday just gone I hosted a Frank Zappa special on Resonance FM. I span tunes from across his career (records released from 1968 to 1996), touching on his ventures into jazz, avant-garde, big band and psychedelia. I opened the show with 'Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus' from The Grand Wazoo (a perfect opener, I'd say) before dropping a Zappa rarity: a lounge jazz version of 'Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance', released posthumously. The original featured on We're Only In It For The Money, from which I span a demo version of 'What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body?' before leading into a double bill of tunes from Weasels Ripped My Flesh: 'Oh No' and then 'The Orange County Lumber Truck'. I then delved into Zappa's contemporary composition phase, with 'The Beltway Bandits' from Jazz From Hell, before ending with the glorious wig-out jam 'Son Of Mr Green Genes' from his record Hot Rats. I think I represented Zappa pretty well (or at least I played thirty minutes of some of my favourite Zappa tunes). Listen below!

Dig That Treasure (21/5/15)
Frank Zappa - Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus
Frank Zappa - Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (The Lost Episodes ver.)
Frank Zappa - What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body? (demo)
Frank Zappa - Oh No
Frank Zappa - The Orange County Lumber Truck
Frank Zappa - The Beltway Bandits
Frank Zappa - Son Of Mr Green Genes

Resonance FM 14/5/15

This episode featured a focus on The Science Fiction Corporation, a collaboration between two German composers that resulted in one of the strangest records I've heard for a while, 1968's Science Fiction Dance Party. It is a strange take on easy-listening, psychedelia and funk, with snippets of dialogue and often drowned in plain silly noise. I closed the show with a track by Storm Band, an Egyptian group making a fusion of jazz and, as they call, a more traditional 'Oriental music'. Other music on the show included Texan indie rock group Summer Salt, Croatian composer B. Zivkovic and Syrian dabke artist Obeid Al Jum'aa

Dig That Treasure (14/5/15)
Summer Salt - Sweet To Me
The Science Fiction Corporation - Hit Parade In The Light Year 25
The Science Fiction Corporation - Visitors of AD 2022
The Science Fiction Corporation - Souk El Juma
B. Zivkovic - Eastern Influence
Obeid Al Jum'aa - Instrumental Mejwiz
Storm Band - Trust Me (Lama Bada)

Resonance FM 7/5/15

In this episode of Dig That Treasure! I kicked off the evening with Isao Tomita's reinterpretation of Debussy's 'Arabesque No.1'. I span some classic easy-listening, then something from the soundtrack of video game Theme Hospital. I played the mysterious A.M. Deballot, some Russian post-punk, then Holy Page alumnus Ever Ending Kicks. I closed the show with Dan Deacon's absurd reworking of Carly Rae Jepsen's chart smash 'Call Me Maybe'. This week's key words: Debussy, video games, 'break the radio'.

Dig That Treasure (7/5/15)
Isao Tomita - Arabesque No.1
Syd Dale - Match Play
Theme Hospital OST - On The Mend
A.M. Deballot - Wudu
Kino - Kamchatka
Ever Ending Kicks - Our Associations
Dan Deacon - Call Me Maybe (147 Times Exponentially Layered)

Resonance FM 30/4/15

The most recent show was quite different to usual. I had Resonance FM fundraising auction winner Robert Wells act as a co-host, spinning ten tunes of his choice. Having only met Robert an hour before airtime, the show is about as spontaneous as Dig That Treasure! gets - it's full of giggling and Robert's quips. I've not had this much fun recording the show in a while, that's for sure. Highlights include The Piggleswick Folk's rendition of 'Teddy Bears Picnic' for three kazoos, and the 'Coward/Brel of the North' Jake Thackray. Tune in and smile!

Dig That Treasure (30/4/15)
Robert Drinkwater - Take One Determined Breath and Then Let It Go (Part 1 of 3)
KateGoes - Animals Who Want To Be Other Animals
N-Qia - shootingstar
Imogen Heap - Glittering Cloud
Ivor Cutler - I'm Happy
The Piggleswick Folk - Teddy Bears Picnic
Jake Thackray - Lah-di-dah
Zoey Van Goey - You Told The Drunks I Knew Karate
Belbury Poly - Your Stories
The Monroe Transfer - Twinkle Twinkle

Resonance FM 23/4/15

This episode began with a track from the upcoming Jean Jacques Perrey record, out on Freaksville in May. I then played Ziad Rahbani (whose uncle Elias I played a couple weeks back) and Ephrem Tamiru, an Ethiopian oldie who I've span on the show before. Moose Hill's beautiful stroll of a song 'Captain Coo' preceded 'Middleman', from Kiran Leonard's project Pend Orielle, before I finished with Final Fantasy's cover of Judee Sill's classic 'The Donor'.

Dig That Treasure (23/4/15)
Jean Jacques Perrey - Hectic Joker
Ziad Rahbani - Ya Ana Ya Ana
Ephrem Tamiru - Mafqer Sewnetie
Moose Hill - Captain Coo
Pend Orielle - Middleman
Final Fantasy - The Donor