Music Works

The Sound of Prewar Japanese Jazz

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I was fascinated by this little-known Japanese artist from the pre-war era and eager to capture the unique sound that blends the orchestral jazz and Japanese folk songs with a strange mix of nostalgia and modernism.

The original recording of this song “Kagoshima Ohara Bushi” (鹿児島小原節) was performed by the King Novelty Orchestra (キング.ノベルティ.オーケストラ), led by the composer and arranger Koichi Sugii (杉井幸一, 1906-1942). Recorded in Logic Pro X using the built-in orchestral sound library.

Orchestral Arrangements in Logic Pro X

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Logic Pro X is bundled with a great set of orchestral software instruments. I transcribed a short clip from a film score and learned that not the harmonic construction, but the adjustment of subtle tempo and volume variations is the most challenging part of the recreation process.

To achieve the organic human sound was a challenging task, and my dissatisfaction with the controls led me to believe that we still have a long way to go to fully rely on a machine to capture the human touch. Self-driving cars, natural language recognition, artificial intelligence … what is the definition of human quality in a digitized world? How do we preserve senses and personalities in such reproductions? Is there a proper interface to do so?

Nouveau départ (Les Saveurs du Palais) – Original score by Gabriel Yared

Music Works 2000-2001

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It was 15 years ago when I first became interested in audio technologies and digital recordings, not really a serious hobby to begin with, but after years of purchasing (and swapping) sound modules, synthesizers, samplers, mixers, etc., I was slowly able to create something that sounds interesting and felt comfortable enough to include them in a few commercial video projects that I was working on at the time. The original setup is long gone, I accidentally found these clips on my hard drive a few weeks ago, made some edit and upload it onto this blog just to remind me how much fun I had with my guitar and the outdated sound module Roland JV-1010.