Regarded by many as electronic music pioneer, Isao Tomita, who died on May 5th, aged 84, found mass popularity as imaginative interpreter of classical music who never shied away from refracting through his vision such well-known and globally loved pieces as Stravinsky’s “Firebird,” Holst’s “Planets” or Mussorgsky’s “Pictures At An Exhibition” and wasn’t fazed by the facts that artists like ELP had a go at them, too. More so, with Moog at his disposal, Tomita started out as a sort of rocker, Isao’s first album, released under ELECTRIC SAMURAI moniker, being “Switched On Rock” and containing his takes on the hits from THE BEATLES, Elvis and Paul Simon’s catalogues.
It’s only after this that the master delved into symphonic domain, keeping an eye at the same time on all things contemporary, which led to Tomita’s reimagining of the “Star Wars” theme and expanding his embrace of synthesizers to orchestral scope and live mixing of tracks in a glass pyramid suspended over the concert crowd. There seemed to be no end to the man’s fantasy that defied his earthly years, yet immortality was out of his reach, even though Isao secured his place in eternity long ago. R.I.P.