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Tool - Lateralus - Koto Ensemble Version

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Uploaded on Nov 29, 2009

I arranged Tool's 'Lateralus' for 8-piece koto ensemble. Here's the first performance, by Soemon in Tokyo, 11/27/09. Check out the rehearsal version video as well. Kazue Sawai was in the audience at this performance.

I'd like to dedicate this one to my oldest friend Eric, who first introduced me to 'Lateralus.'

The first 6 steps and the 15th step (6=1+5) of the Fibonacci sequence for the numbers 0 and 1 feature prominently in the structure of this piece:

(0-1) -1-2-3-5-8-13-21-34-55-89-144-233-377-61­0-987

This is reflected, for example, in the rhythm of the second section, 9/8-8/8-7/8, 987 being the 15th step of the sequence, as well as in the structure of the 3rd section. While the underlying rhythm of this section is 5/8 (the 6th step of the sequence is 5+8=13), the lead melody progresses back and forth through a series of phrases of length 0 to 13, again the first 6 steps of the sequence plus the root numbers, separated by pauses of length 1 to 5, the 1st 4 steps of the sequence. Together the melody phrases and rests form the image of 2 interlocking spirals. The lyrics of the song at this point also reflect the mathematical structure, the first words being 'black then white,' i.e. 0 and 1. The lyrics later in the song make use of extensive spiral imagery.

In my arrangement I tried to incorporate this element of the original composition as much as possible. There are 8 instruments in the group, 6 koto and 2 bass koto. The 6th step in the sequence is 13, which is the number of strings on a koto. The 2 bass kotos together have 34 strings, 34 being the 8th step of the sequence. In the first 9/8-8/8-7/8 section the 8 players are subdivided into 2 groups, one of 5 and one of 3. The groups play the 9/8/7 figure 3 times, with a variation in the 3rd iteration subdividing it into 3=2+1. The 2nd time through the 9-8-7 figure the groups themselves subdivide into smaller groups of 3+2 and 2+1 for 2 iterations before subdividing again in the 3rd iteration (3=2+1 again).

There is so much more, but, as the lyrics in the 4th section say, "Over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind." It rocks, and that's all that really matters.

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