Aug 16, 2015

Sundaze 1533


More today from that Japanese musician, activist, composer, record producer, writer, singer, pianist, and actor based in Tokyo and New York. Gaining major success in 1978 as a member of the electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto served on keyboards and sometimes vocals. He concurrently pursued a solo career, if ever anyone painted pictures with sound, Ryuichi Sakamoto supercedes them all. More then from his huge body of work   .... N'joy

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Sakamoto entered the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1970, earning a B.A. in music composition and an M.A. with special emphasis on both electronic and ethnic music. He studied ethnomusicology there with the intention of becoming a researcher in the field, due to his interest in various world music traditions, particularly the Japanese (especially Okinawan), Indian and African musical traditions. He was also trained in classical music and began experimenting with the electronic music equipment available at the university, including synthesizers such as the Buchla, Moog, and ARP. One of Sakamoto's classical influences was Claude Debussy, who he described as his "hero" and stated that “Asian music heavily influenced Debussy, and Debussy heavily influenced me. So, the music goes around the world and comes full circle.”

After working as a session musician with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi in 1977, the trio formed the internationally successful electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) in 1978. Known for their seminal influence on electronic music, The group's work has had a lasting influence across genres, ranging from hip hop and techno to acid house and general melodic music. Sakamoto was the songwriter and composer for a number of the band's hit songs—including "Yellow Magic (Tong Poo)" (1978), "Technopolis" (1979), "Nice Age" (1980), "Ongaku" (1983) and "You've Got to Help Yourself" (1983). He also sang on several songs, such as "Kimi ni Mune Kyun" (1983). .

Sakamoto released his first solo album Thousand Knives of Ryūichi Sakamoto in mid-1978 with the help of Hideki Matsutake—Hosono also contributed to the song "Thousand Knives". The album experimented with different styles, such as "Thousand Knives" and "The End of Asia"—in which electronic music was fused with traditional Japanese music—while "Grasshoppers" is a more minimalistic piano song. The album was recorded from April to July 1978 with a variety of electronic musical instruments, including various synthesizers, such as the KORG PS-3100, a polyphonic synthesizer; the Oberheim Eight-Voice; the Moog III-C; the Polymoog, the Minimoog; the Micromoog; the Korg VC-10, which is a vocoder; the KORG SQ-10, which is an analog sequencer; the Syn-Drums, an electronic drum kit; and the microprocessor-based Roland MC-8 Microcomposer, which is a music sequencer that was programmed by Matsutake and played by Sakamoto.

In 1980 Sakamoto released the solo album B-2 Unit, which has been referred to as his "edgiest" record and is known for the electronic
song "Riot in Lagos", which is considered an early example of electro music (electro-funk).The 1980 release of "Riot in Lagos" was listed by The Guardian in 2011 as one of the 50 key events in the history of dance music. Also in 1980, Sakamoto released the single "War Head/Lexington Queen", an experimental synthpop and electro record, and began a long-standing collaboration with David Sylvian, when he co-wrote and performed on the Japan track "Taking Islands In Africa". In 1982, Sakamoto worked on another collaboration with Sylvian, a single entitled "Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music".

Sakamoto released a number of solo albums during the 1980s. While primarily focused on the piano and synthesizer, this series of albums included collaborations with artists such as Sylvian, David Byrne, Thomas Dolby, Nam June Paik and Iggy Pop. Sakamoto would alternate between exploring a variety of musical styles, ideas and genres—captured most notably in his 1983 album Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia—and focusing on a specific subject or theme, such as the Italian Futurism movement in Futurista (1986). As his solo career began to extend outside Japan in the late 1980s, Sakamoto's explorations, influences and collaborators also developed further. Beauty (1989) features a tracklist that combines pop with traditional Japanese and Okinawan songs, as well as guest appearances by Jill Jones, Robert Wyatt, Brian Wilson and Robbie Robertson. Heartbeat (1991) and Sweet Revenge (1994) features Sakamoto's collaborations with a global range of artists.

In 1995 Sakamoto released Smoochy, described by the Sound On Sound website as Sakamoto's "excursion into the land of easy-listening and Latin", followed by the 1996 album, which featured a number of previously released pieces arranged for solo piano, violin and cello. During the December of 1996 Sakamoto, composed the entirety of an hour-long orchestral work entitled "Untitled 01" and released as the album Discord (1998). the recording was condensed from nine live performances of the work, recorded during a Japanese tour. Discord was divided into four parts: "Grief", "Anger", "Prayer" and "Salvation"; Sakamoto explained in 1998 that he was "not religious, but maybe spiritual" and "The Prayer is to anybody or anything you want to name." . Sakamoto's next album, 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".

1999 saw the long-awaited release of Sakamoto's "opera" LIFE. It premiered with seven sold-out performances in Tokyo and Osaka. This ambitious multi-genre multi-media project featured contributions by over 100 performers, including Pina Bausch, Bernardo Bertolucci, Josep Carreras, His Holiness The Dalai Lama and Salman Rushdie. Sakamoto teamed with cellist Jaques Morelenbaum (a member of his 1996 trio), and Morelenbaum's wife, Paula, on a pair of albums celebrating the work of bossa nova pioneer Antonio Carlos Jobim. They recorded their first album, Casa (2001).

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. This debut, released on German label Raster-Noton, was voted record of the year 2004 in the electronica category by British magazine The Wire. They then released Insen (2005) – while produced in a similar manner to Vrioon, this album is somewhat more restrained and minimalist.

In 2005, Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia hired Sakamoto to compose ring and alert tones for their high-end phone, the Nokia 8800. A recent reunion with YMO pals Hosono and Takahashi also caused a stir in the Japanese press. They released a single "Rescue" in 2007 and a DVD "HAS/YMO" in 2008. On July 10, 2014, Sakamoto released a statement indicating that he had been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in late June of the same year. He announced a break from his work while he sought treatment and recovery. On August 3, 2015, Sakamoto posted on his website that he was "in great shape ... I am thinking about returning to work" and announced that he would be providing music for Yoji Yamada's Haha to Kuraseba (Living with My Mother).

Sakamoto is a member of the anti-nuclear organization Stop Rokkasho and has demanded the closing of the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant. In 2012, he organized the "No Nukes 2012" concert, which featured performances by 18 groups, including Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk. Sakamoto is also known as a critic of copyright law, arguing in 2009 that it is antiquated in the information age. He argued that in "the last 100 years, only a few organizations have dominated the music world and ripped off both fans and creators" and that "with the internet we are going back to having tribal attitudes towards music."

In 2006 Sakamoto, in collaboration with Japan's largest independent music company Avex Group, founded Commmons, a record label seeking to change the manner in which music is produced. Sakamoto has explained that Commmons is not his label, but is a platform for all aspiring artists to join as equal collaborators, to share the benefits of the music industry. On the initiative's "About" page, the label is described as a project that "aims to find new possibilities for music, while making meaningful contribution to culture and society." The name "Commmons" is spelt with three "m"s because the third "m" stands for music. From 2013 until now 5 albums have been releasesd 3 with Nobuyuki Nakajima and 2 with Taylor Deupree

Since 78 Sakamoto has released almost 100 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. 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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 "I absolutely disagree that music exists only to 'heal' people; yet I am troubled by the question of whether, when faced with someone who has been wounded, music can really do anything more than heal," says Ryuichi Sakamoto, who couldn't play the piano after the events of September 11th in New York. Sakamoto found answers to may of these questions throughout his experiences in Africa, which helped him create new melodies of love. Several new pieces of music, which were especially written throughout the course of this project, have been recorded for inclusion in the DVD Book. This journey explores many brilliant creations as shown by Ryuichi Sakamoto as he directs the action in this quest for answers to many timely questions. Clearly not a dvd here but it's musical part wich btw includes field recordings with songs by Masai  Turkana and Elmolo People

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Elephantism (flac 266mb)

01 Elephantism Theme 0:56
02 Embassy 3:37
03 Elephantism 2 4:45
04 Elmolo Dance 4:12
05 Great Africa 4:44
06 Serenity 5:06
07 Masai Dance 5:03
08 Mpata 6:20
09 Elephant Dance 6:24
10 Elephantism 9 2:24
11 Mosaretu Women 2:15
12 Masai Children's Songs 3:12

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Elephantism  (ogg 108mb)

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On Chasm, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto blends together his favorite styles of music without limiting himself to one genre. Chasm is a mixture of avant-garde and Western pop and a vehicle for uncompromising electronic experimentation.

Chasm opens with "Undercooled," a composition that combines rap with an Asian melody. This piece is followed by "Coro," a track made up of harsh audio static. The title track is composed of electronically altered piano notes, which swell up and down and loop mechanically. This piece has a haunting, almost underwater, feel to it. Towards the end of Chasm, we come across "Song," an abstract work that combines a Spartan electronic backbeat with loud white noise. However, Sakamoto makes a sharp left turn for the album's closer "Seven Samurai - Ending Theme." This piece reflects the composer's Japanese heritage in its extensive use of Asian modalities. But more notably, it embraces tonality and lyricism. Here, Sakamoto replaces clever gadgetry with unerring melodic splendor.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Chasm (flac 384mb)

01 Undercooled 4:32
02 Coro 4:05
03 War & Peace 5:31
04 CHASM 3:30
05 World Citizen - I Won't Be Disappointed / Looped Piano 6:03
06 Only Love Can Conquer Hate 9:46
07 Ngo / Bitmix 5:10
08 Break With 4:35
09 +Pantonal 3:58
10 20 msec. 5:32
11 Laménto 3:43
12 World Citizen / Re-cycled 4:57
13 Song 4:29
14 Word 5:02
15 Seven Samurai - Ending Theme 5:40

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Chasm  (ogg   174mb)

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Bricolage," a French word meaning to assemble something from available materials, is such a perfect term for the art of the remix that it's surprising no one has ever used it before. It's less surprising that Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose work has always had a cool Continental flair despite the artist's Japanese roots, would choose such an elegant term for his swish remix collection. Focusing on reworks of material from 2004's back-to-the-roots electro-pop experiment Chasm, Bricolages features a cross-cultural and cross-generational batch of remixers including Cornelius, whose playful sense of pastiche is to current hipster Japanese pop what Sakamoto's Yellow Magic Orchestra was a quarter-century before; his take on the spoken word cut-up "War & Peace" is considerably lighter and groovier than Aoki Takamasa's tense, austere version. Former Japan drummer Steve Jansen, whose collaboration with Sakamoto goes back to the early '80s, contributes the skittering "Break With," bridging the gap between new wave disco and contemporary IDM. However, the most intriguing reworking is Rob Da Bank and Mr. Dan's version of "Word," which transmutes the song into a spookily atmospheric, dubwise dance groove that reveals an entirely new aspect. Remix albums are only as good as their mixers, but Sakamoto has chosen a solid team that makes Bricolages his most successful remix project.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Bricolages  (flac 428mb)

01 War & Peace (Aoki Takamasa Remix) 5:30
02 Undercooled (Skuli Sverrisson Remix) 5:34
03 War & Peace (Cornelius Remix) 5:20
04 20 mSec. (Fennesz Remix) 5:18
05 Undercooled (Alva Noto Remodel) 4:44
06 World Citizen (Taylor Deupree Remix) 5:55
07 Only Love Can Conquer Hate (Snd. Remix) 7:02
08 Seven Samurai (Richard Devine Remix) 8:17
09 Word (Rob Da Bank & Mr. Dan Remix) 4:22
10 20 Msec. (Craig Armstrong Remix) 5:36
11 NGO/Bitmix (Slicker Remix) 4:46
12 Break With (Steve Jansen Remix) 7:11
13 Motopiate (Thomas Knak Remix) 4:08

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Bricolages   (ogg 187 mb)

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Musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was one of a handful of concerned artists who took part in The Cape Farewell Project, in which scientists joined with the creative community for a conference in Greenland to address and investigate global warming. During his stay in Greenland, Sakamoto made a number of field recordings that he incorporated into his album Out of Noise; the album is dominated by graceful, minimalist keyboard pieces punctuated by electronic noise, ambient sounds and bits of found voices.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Out Of Noise  (flac 298mb)

01 Hibari 9:02
02 Hwit 6:29
03 Still Life 4:45
04 In The Red 5:32
05 Tama 4:02
06 Nostalgia 3:39
07 Firewater 4:11
08 Disko 3:37
09 Ice 3:34
10 Glacier 9:44
11 To Stanford 3:38
12 Composition 0919 5:30

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Out Of Noise   (ogg 139mb)

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TheOtherDonald said...

I just wanted to add that Sakamoto's collaboration with the Morelenbaum husband/wife team yielded some of the most beautiful and sublime Brazilian chamber jazz (don't know what else to call it) that I can ever imagine hearing -- Brazilian songs, played/sung almost like classical chamber music, but with jazz leanings. Billed as Morelenbaum²/Sakamoto, this combo covered mostly Jobim songs. The album Casa was recorded in Jobim's home, IIRC. Some of the readers might appreciate you posting them, if you have them.

Rho said...

Thanks Donald i was aware of Casa and know it was a big success i omitted it from the bio to keep that within limits..