Syzygys: “Rimsky Train”
From the album The Complete Studio Recordings (2003)
"A female duo who plays microtonal pop music," the Japanese band Syzygys is the project of Hitomi Shimizu (keyboards) and Hiromi Nishida (violin). (The band’s name, presumably an alternative plural of the polysemic word "syzygy,” comes from a Greek root meaning “conjunction.”)
Like all good music, that of Syzygys defies description: it is at once familiar and strange. Many of the gestures are redolent of that ubiquitous but unnameable modern idiom of composition heard in incidental music for popular media, but a subversive and experimental element is also always present— and in this way the music of Syzygys is comparable to the otherwise very different work of, say, Raymond Scott.
The delightful weirdness of this music derives in part from the completely ingenuous fusion of catchy pop song elements with the hauntingly unfamiliar sonorities of a 43-note just intonation scale invented by Harry Partch. Shizimu plays a modified electric reed organ tuned this scale. (Across the top of the band’s homepage there is a “playable” 43-note keyboard. A classy touch.)
If this music sounds like the somewhat deranged soundtrack of a forgotten Nintendo game, it’s not coincidental: Shimizu has done the music for several titles for the Sony PlayStation. She’s also a prolific composer for film and TV.
Tarwater Studio is gonna be at emeraldcitycomicon this year, in booth CC-11! Stop by and see us in the artist’s alley - we would love to meet you and talk crime (Dr. Lecter fans, here’s looking at you). We’ll have books (Man of Sin and Hybristorific!) with us, as well as some awesome posters, and we’ll be offering quick sketches!
Quote pinned on the wall of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop by Daphne Oram, 1958.
KPH Notoprojo - Lancaran Penghijauan, Slendro Manyura
Prof. Dr, Max Bruckner, Four Plates from the Book “Vielecke und Vielflache”, (1900)
Regular convex polyhedra, frequently referenced as “Platonic” solids, are featured prominently in the philosophy of Plato, who spoke about them, rather intuitively, in association to the four classical elements (earth, wind, fire, water… plus ether). However, it was Euclid who actually provided a mathematical description of each solid and found the ratio of the diameter of the circumscribed sphere to the length of the edge and argued that there are no further convex polyhedra than those 5: tetrahedron, hexahedron (also known as the cube), octahedron, dodecahedron and icosahedron.