Canon of the Three Stars

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Continuing the outer-space theme that he had been pursuing most of the time since The Tomita Planets, Tomita claimed that he drew upon the "wave forms of electromagnetic emanations from various stars and constellations" for the sonic textures of this album, as translated by a computer. If so, the results aren't much different than his previous palette of sounds and effects; if anything, they are more restrained, less showy, and a little more faithful to the material than in earlier projects. Then, the repertoire doesn't exactly lend itself to a far-out approach, a succession of excerpts from Villa-Lobos' wonderful Bachianas Brasilieri, Nos. 2, 4 and 7 interspersed with Baroque chestnuts and Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" for good measure. This makes historical sense since the Villa-Lobos works were tributes to J. S. Bach mixed with his own Romantic Brazilian-tinged outlook into a new idiom altogether. The "Canon of the Three Stars" turns out to be a tastefully blurred rendition of the good old Pachelbel Canon, and Albinoni's Adagio and Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring" are the other well-worn Baroque entries. "Whistle Train" is a rhythm machine-propelled version of Villa-Lobos' "The Little Train of the Caipira," and "Pegasus" takes the same tack with the "Toccata" from the Bachianas Brasilieras No. 7; both are rather appealing, despite the rhythm tracks. Though not the most exciting or titillating Tomita album, it might wear better over the long haul than some of his others.

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