Honorable Smoke on the Water

This link will take you to the much-touted video of Japanese musicians performing Deep Purple’s classic rock song, Smoke on the Water, using traditional Japanese instruments: http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=3897

The Japanese culture may be older and wiser than our own Western Society, but I believe these musicians are missing the boat. Smoke on the Water is more than simply notes played in proper succession. The song represents a national cultural phenomenon.  It is one of the first hard rock songs in America that gained mass appeal, based on a guitar solo. This song can never occupy such a “first” status anywhere again.

Smoke on the Water is more than just notes from a second perspective. There are also the non-notes, the spaces, the pregnant pauses between notes. These silences build as much tension as the notes themselves. Such complementary silences are lost against the weak instrumentals of this Japanese version.

Smoke on the Water is meant to be heard live. The amplifiers throw the sound of all the instruments out in a unique way, across the crowd of eagerly waiting listeners in each smoke-filled auditorium or outdoor arena.

No, this piece of music was never meant to be adapted for Eastern Traditional, Gregorian Chant, or Otis Overhead venues.

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