Room With A View – [A Brief Commentary]

Room With A View is the first of an ongoing series of sketches, which I hope to update and expand on periodically during my time living in Japan. The first is set to a personal video I took whilst visiting the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in the spring of 2019. It took 2 years to get around to it, but I’ve finally found a moment to set it to music.

At the time, my Japanese was limited to just a few short sentences – yet I was confronted by this expansive view of the city from the top of the government building. It was like staring at an overwhelming moment of opportunity, which, by my own fault, I was hopelessly prepared to take on at the time.

One of my first impressions of the video is the striking sense of humidity suggested by the reflections of sunlight on the glass. To capture that sense of warmth the track begins with low Amin7, Cmaj#7, Amin7, Cmaj#7+9 chords, which are looped using a warm synth pad preset. See. Fig. A below

[fig. A – introduction to Room With A View]

The 5th bar sees the introduction of the first core melody, played on the piano.  The part intentionally features with a wide gap between the left and right hands  [see fig. B below] with the right hand intervals narrowing towards the ends of each phrase – this is essentially a musical representation of observing the picture as a whole before focusing on its finer details. There’s quite a lot to see and the video slowly zooms during playback, so time is hopelessly limited – you’ll never take in everything.

[fig. B – bars 5 – 8]

The first half is rounded off with the introduction of the 2nd core melody, played on the Shakuhachi. The melody is performed at discretion of a vst instrument, given I don’t know any Shakuhachi players and the melody itself exceeds the limits of the instrument as can be seen in fig. C below.

[fig. C – Shakuhachi melody]

The 2nd half of the sketch essentially features a texture build with layered improvisations before a deconstruction of the texture and a concluding drop in tempo.

Any proceeds generously sent to my Buy Me Coffee profile will be used towards transport/ticket costs for future videos in this series. I already have footage from Hamamatsu’s Act Tower to work with but I hope to shoot future videos in Fuji, Nagoya, Osaka, Kyoto and Sapporo as soon as it is safe to travel between prefectures.

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