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Empty Ensemble returns with a new single on August 26, 2022 titled “Fanfare for Whatever (Orchestral Song No. 1)”.

Orchestra recordings often center around multi-movement works, programmed in a way to emulate a concert. Concerts are the life blood of orchestras, and orchestra recordings pretty much amount to gift shop merchandise.

So what stops an orchestra from recording an album, in the vernacular sense? Why does no repertoire exist for an orchestra to go in a studio for a few days and come out with a work geared for a streaming service or physical medium?

That’s the question Orchestral Songs attempts to answer. This project seeks to create pieces suited for a popular recording form factor. But these pieces are not popular music — they take advantage all the strengths an orchestra offers.

“Fanfare for Whatever” is the first piece completed for this project. It follows a simple directive: create at least 10 pieces no longer than 5 minutes in length that can be recorded as an album.

[Empty Ensemble - Fanfare for Whatever]

Penzias and Wilson debuts at the end of March 2021 with a cover of 弦楽四重奏曲其の一六番. The full band arrangement of the song has been retitled “Rescue the Fly,” and a new mix of the original track serves a second A-side.

OK, I just a better job of setting up the sample library articulations, but the cover version is something special. Definitely check it out.

Preorder is available on Bandcamp, with digital outlets to follow in the coming weeks.

Eponymous 4 pretty much uploads music as it’s finished, and there’s no reason Empty Ensemble shouldn’t do the same, regardless if the parts don’t complete a whole.

With that in mind, the Releases section of the site now has the various Empty Ensemble projects online, including the 宿題シリーズ (“Shukudai Series”) of recordings — sample library renditions of classical pieces. There are also some original works.

Now with the website launched, more music will make its way here.

Eponymous 4 first formed in 1999, but it didn’t really get traction till 2005. And when it did, the moniker became the catch-all for every musical thing I did. Rock songs ripping off Japanese punk bands? Sure. Pop songs ripping off Duran Duran? Absolutely. A string quartet imitating Dmitri Shostakovich and Samuel Barber? Fair game.

It’s many years later, and while the popular music work of Eponymous 4 inches closer to completion, some of the more classically-minded stuff just sat in limbo. I labeled them as Eponymous 4 projects, but were they really? I’ve been working as Eponymous 4 for a while now, and honestly, I’m kind of tired of it. Or rather, Eponymous 4 has hit a wall.

The urge to create a new identity has been creeping into my consciousness bit by bit, and now, it’s finally happened.

Welcome Empty Ensemble.

The name Empty Orchestra was already taken by a band in Michigan, who were also inspired by the term “karaoke”, which itself is an abbreviation of “kara ohkesutora” (空オーケストラ). But I’m not an orchestra, and while I won’t rule out that possibility in the future, I wouldn’t mind being an ensemble — an Empty Ensemble. It’s also a literal description — there are no members in this ensemble. Just a sample library.

And someone trying to coax some humanity out of a machine.

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