Jun 19, 2011

Sundaze 1125 J-week

Hello, as the Sun will pass summer solstice this week, evoking the Wicca's of this world into action, the eyes are on the currently more demure sun and it all starts in the land of the rising sun, Japan. That's a good reason for me to have a bit of a Japanese artists week,. Starting off with Ryuichi Sakamoto, he works the keyboard as a go-player, his output is phenomenal and of the highest quality, one of the worlds music greats and yet he is obscure for a large part of the world. I hope to lift the veil somewhat here...enjoy !

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Ryuichi Sakamoto (born January 17, 1952 in Tokyo, Japan) studied at the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, where he graduated with a BA in composition, and a Master's degree with special emphasis electronic and ethnic music. Sakamoto began his career in the late 1970s, working as a composer, arranger and producer with some of Japan's most popular rock, jazz and classical artists. He released his first solo album in 1978 but came to fame as a member of Japanese synth-rock outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra with co-founders Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi. He collaborated with David Sylvian on a number of singles and most of Sylvian's albums.

He appeared in the 1983 Nagisa Oshima film Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence alongside British rock singer David Bowie; he also wrote the film's musical score. He won the Academy Award for his score to the 1987 Bernardo Bertolucci film The Last Emperor, and has also won two Golden Globe Awards for his work as a film composer.In addition, he also composed music for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics opening ceremony. In the early 1990s, he briefly reunited with YMO, playing an instrumental role in the techno and acid house movements of the era, before parting ways again shortly afterwards.

His 1999 musical composition "Energy Flow", also known as the alternative title of the single disc Ura BTTB, was the first number-one instrumental single in Japan's Oricon charts history. He has also occasionally worked on anime and video games, as a composer as well as a scenario writer. In the late 2000s, he reunited once again with YMO, while continuing to compose film music.

Since 78 he has released almost 80 albums (solo & soundtrack) , on top of that 2 dozen collaboration albums and YMO 33 years 110+ albums , every 16 weeks an album for 33 years, amazing workethic, puts lots of artists to shame. The 2007 jpg shows a 55 year old man that has greyed considerably, but he looks sharp and balanced into the lens back at you.

He is also known as a critic of copyright law, arguing that it is antiquated in the information age. He is a member of anti-nuclear organization Stop Rokkasho. Married life obviously suffered and he has been unattached for most of his career, still he has two daughters one of which has stepped into her parents career (mother=Akiko Yano), the J-pop singer Miu Sakamoto.

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All compositions are by Ryuichi Sakamoto except "23rd Psalm," which is traditional. Lyrics are sung by David Sylvian on "Forbidden Colours". Sakamoto later won the 1983 BAFTA Award for Best Film Music for the film's soundtrack. In 94 Orb man Alex Patterson named it as one of his top ten ambient records. It's in flac , enjoy

Sakamoto - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (flac) ( 178mb)

01 Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence 4:36
02 Batavia 1:18
03 Germination 1:49
04 A Hearty Breakfast 1:23
05 Before The War 2:15
06 The Seed And The Sower 5:03
07 A Brief Encounter 2:22
08 Ride, Ride, Ride (Celliers' Brother's Song) 1:04
09 The Fight 1:30
10 Father Christmas 2:07
11 Dismissed 0:10
12 Assembly 2:17
13 Beyond Reason 2:01
14 Sowing The Seed 1:54
15 23rd Psalm 2:03
16 Last Regrets 1:43
17 Ride, Ride, Ride (Reprise) 1:06
18 The Seed 1:04
19 Forbidden Colours (Voc.David Sylvian) 4:42


BTTB (1998) — an acronym for "Back to the Basics" — was a fairly opaque reaction to the prior year's multilayered, lushly orchestrated Discord. The album comprised a series of original pieces on solo piano, including "Energy Flow" (a major hit in Japan) and a frenetic, four-hand arrangement of the Yellow Magic Orchestra classic "Tong Poo." At the time that Sakamoto began composing for BTTB, he thought that a CD of piano music felt right, though he was not sure of what kind of styles he wanted to play around with. Instead of settling on one or two styles, the renowned pianist and composer experimented with several. For instance, on BTTB, Sakamoto delves into avant-garde piano techniques, playing a prepared piano on the gently circular "Prelude" and "Uetax." Sakamoto's two choral-inspired pieces, "Choral No. 1" and "Choral No. 2," were born out of his fascination with Bach's "St. Mathew Passion" and medieval-esque Gregorian chants. On the BTTB U.S. tour, he opened the show performing a brief avant-garde DJ set under the stage name DJ Lovegroove.

Sakamoto - BTTB (back to basics) (flac) ( 207mb)

01 Energy Flow 4:34
02 Put Your Hands Up - Piano Version 4:51
03 Railroad Man - Piano Version 4:41
04 Opus 4:25
05 Sonatine 3:38
06 Intermezzo 3:44
07 Lorenz And Watson 3:57
08 Choral No. 1 2:27
09 Choral No. 2 2:05
10 Bachata 8:14
11 Chanson 2:23
12 Prelude 4:07
13 Uetax 0:26
14 Aqua 4:29
15 Tong Poo 5:03
16 Reversing 3:56


Sakamoto collaborated with Alva Noto (an alias of Carsten Nicolai) to release Vrioon, an album of Sakamoto's piano clusters treated by Nicolai's unique style of digital manipulation, involving the creation of "micro-loops" and minimal percussion. The two produced this work by passing the pieces back and forth until both were satisfied with the result. Pure tones, bleeps, and buzzes are so contrasted to the minimal, nearly ethereal piano of Sakamoto, especially as the piano is heavily treated with sustain, they create structured glitchy soundscapes where the organic fuses and seperates from the mechanical.

This debut, released on German label Raster-Noton, was voted record of the year 2004 in the electronica category by British magazine The Wire. No suprse then that recently they released their 5th album together, Summvs.

Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto - Vrioon ( 02 220mb)

01 Uoon I 13:51
02 Uoon II 9:40
03 Duoon 5:47
04 Noon 10:13
05 Trioon I 5:09
06 Trioon II 9:57

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Since the 90s, Fennesz and Sakamoto have performed live, with Sala Santa Cecilia being their first collaborative EP (Touch, 2005), recorded live at Auditorium della Parco Musica for the Romaeuropa Festival. Two years later, the duo got together to compose their first full length LP, Cendre. Sakamoto is back at the piano, this time bathed in a warm lush of ambient bliss, as flooded by Fennesz. The reverberations of drone-like pads almost swallow the notes whole, occasionally letting them cut through the descending fog, and shoot up like a sparkling reflection of a dying star. A modern classical marvel was the conclusian at Boomkat.

Fennesz, Sakamoto - Cendre (flac) ( 07 263mb)

01 Oto 3:49
02 Aware 4:46
03 Haru 4:39
04 Trace 5:46
05 Kuni 2:24
06 Mono 4:13
07 Kokoro 4:16
08 Cendre 3:09
09 Amorph 5:58
10 Glow 7:12
11 Abyss 5:38

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Elsewhere on this blog not uploaded here

Japan Do
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Left Handed Dream
Japan YMO
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 1000 Knives Of 
Japan YM O2
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Beauty
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Anonymous said...

Could you upload the Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence soundtrack when you have time

Many Thanks

Out of curiosity what's a good starting point for Mr Sakamoto?

Rho said...

Hello Anon, I would start at the beginning Thousand Knives Of Mr Sakamoto, he's had a wonderful career and he's still releasing and coming up to his 100th release. Anyway you'll find plenty of his work here starting with my Japan series in 2007.

Whiskybob said...

Many thanks