EDITED on 19-Oct-2011
Tomita’s Planets has been re-released on SACD/CD for the 100th Nippon anniversary but rather than just remastering the original, he has remade substantial sections of it. He has taken the best of the original and remade the rest with new instruments, mostly Roland synths including JUPITER-80 / GAIA SH-01,Â VP-7, VP-770, SD-50 and his Moog 55.
So whats it like, well after having the album for a while now, at first some of the new sounds did seem a little out of place in parts, this probably becuase I’m so used to listening to the original any changes will stand out. There is a single solo vocal in Venus which is without much reverb compared to Tomita’s original and thus stands out quite a bit but after hearing it now a few times I find that it does work with the rest. Some of the orginal brass has been replaced with what sounds like Roland’s virtually modelled brass from the new Jupiter 80. There is also a bit more of effect processing of some of what sound the original classic Tomita “Boo Baa” Moog vocal sounds as well as others added in Mars which you can hear below. As well as quite a few completely new sounds, Tomita has added an old one but you would only notice it if you have heard the Sound Creature version of the excerpt from the Engulfed Cathedral, where right at the beginning there is a distinctive arpeggio , this has reappeared in the beginning of Mars at 25 seconds in, small detail but I recognised it straight away.
There is a new track called Itokawa and Hayabusa which I have included below which many might consider as an extended filler at 3:25 long and which runs into Saturn but after few listens I find again that it does work with the rest.
All of the tracks on the album have been tweaked with new sounds here and there and cleaned up or are effected original sounds, it sounds is as if it has more bite in areas where the original was a little muted. You still recognise it as Tomita’s Planets as many of the original is still there, it hasn’t been so completely reworked as to be a new version of the old one in same way like Kraftwerk’s “The Mix” was of their original pieces, it’s more of a Planets 2011.
Either way I would still recommend any fan of Tomita’s to get hold of the album as I’m sure they will grow to enjoy it in the same way as the original.
Mars from The Ultimate Planets.
Itokawa and Hayabusa, New track from the The Ultimate Planets.
The original was released in 1976, though it was banned from sale in the UK for a while because of objections by Imogene Holst. Gustav Holst wrote the music around 1910 but his estate represented by his daughter has been successful in blocking Tomita’s release because they objected to the added material by Tomita and the shorting of the Uranus and Neptune tracks. When interviewed Â by Nick Kent about this Tomita replied that he thought the full length versions did not lend themselves well to long synthesizer versions.
Denon originally released a DVD-A 5.1 version of the Planets album in 2003 but it wasÂ region 2 NTSC only and was not released outside of Japan.
What’s also new about this is that it an SACD/CD hybrid, so you can get the full 4 channel surround with the right SACD player and equipment as Tomita originally created it as well as a normal 2 channel stereo CD.
Looking at the Google translation (not brilliant but understandable) Â of the Japanese text, it says that this is a culmination of Tomita’s life’s work andÂ the new track is “Asteroid explorer Hayabusa and Itokawa”.
If you were wondering just what the cover is meant to be, according to the translation it is a “multi-spacecraft structure fish” and was created by Mr. Yoichiro Kawaguchi (Professor, University of Tokyo) .
I got my copy from Far Side Music http://www.farsidemusic.com/acatalog/TOMITA.html as this has the best price I have seen and the service from Paul the owner was excellent.
P.S. It appears that Tomita is planning to release updated versions of Claire De Lune, Pictures at an Exhibition and others so I will be keeping my ears open about that for sure.