The soundtrack music of the late Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu has been sporadically available in this country, if at all, so The Film Music of Toru Takemitsu (Nonesuch, out now) is most welcome. Takemitsu was best known in the U.S. for his work with filmmaker Akira Kurosawa (represented here with a section from 1970’s Dodes’kaden), but he composed 93 movie scores over 40 years and his range was remarkable. His music was greatly influenced by the West, and there are moments on this compilation that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Ennio Morricone or Jerry Goldsmith collection. There are stately organs (as on the opening selection from 1989’s Rikyu, directed by Hiroshi Teshigahara, who used Takemitsu for many of his films) and lush strings with melodies hinting at the baroque. But there is also the distinctively Japanese flavor he brought to his harrowing score for Teshigahara’s Woman in the Dunes (1964), where the dry scrape of strings personified the shifting sands. This collection shows the breadth of Takemitsu’s work. This is one entry in the Nonesuch Film Music Series, which also devotes discs to Alex North, Leonard Rosenman and Georges Delerue. (For those interested in exploring Takemitsu’s non-soundtrack music, Denon has released the orchestral disc Autumn and a CD of his guitar works performed by Shin-ichi Fukuda; the latter is recommended if you can find it.)
Originally published in the October 3, 1997, edition of epulse (3.39).
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• February 6, 2019: First day of the new semester of the 15-week "Sounds of Brands" course I teach once a year at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
• March 22, 2019: I'm giving a talk at the Algorithmic Art Assembly, two days of events in San Francisco: aaassembly.org.
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• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
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The Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects:
• 0372 / Honeymoon Phase / The Assignment: Record a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.
• 0371 / Concrete Ambience / The Assignment: What could concrete wallpaper music sound like?
• 0370 / Through Lines / The Assignment: Follow a single strand in the accumulated material resulting from a multi-part, multi-thread collaborative endeavor.
• 0369 / Final Solo / The Assignment: Record the final third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track, based itself on a prior pre-existing track.
• 0368 / Engage Duo / The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.
... And there is a complete list of past projects.
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