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

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