Today the 7th and final post 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. His instrument is the piano and i thought it fitting to finish the series with him playing the piano...... 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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Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the pioneering figures of Japanese electronic music, demonstrates his versatility on this change-of-pace album. Released in 2004, 04 is dominated by Sakamoto's prowess on the acoustic piano, and features excerpts from several of his scores for motion pictures (including his music for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence), television commercials (such as a campaign for Louis Vuitton), and video games ("Seven Samurai: Ending Theme" was composed for the PS2 game Seven Samurai 20XX).
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 04 (flac 244mb)
01 Asience (Fast Piano) 2:20
02 Yamazaki 2002 3:03
03 +33 5:45
04 Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence 4:42
05 Rain 1:31
06 Perspective 5:28
07 Undercooled (Acoustica) 4:13
08 Riot In Lagos 4:35
09 Theme For Roningai (Symphonic) 4:42
10 Tamago 2004 3:16
11 Bibo No Aozora7:16
12 Seven Samurai (Ending Theme)6:09
13 Dear Liz 2:10
14 Asience (Original) 1:44
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Internationally acclaimed musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto revisits some of his music of the past in a new and intimate setting on this album. 05 features Sakamoto's new interpretations of some of his noted film and television scores, this time arranged for solo piano. 05 includes Sakamoto's elegant new performances of music from the motion pictures The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, as well as pieces from his solo albums and a smattering of new material.
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 05 (flac 244mb)
01 Tibetan Dance 4:22
02 A Flower Is Not A Flower 6:35
03 Amore 5:09
04 Energy Flow 4:04
05 Aqua 5:29
06 The Last Emperor 6:42
07 Happyend 5:02
08 Thousand Knives 6:09
09 Fountain 2:22
10 The Sheltering Sky 4:54
11 Lost Theme 4:37
12 Shining Boy & Little Randy 4:56
13 Reversing 3:33
14 Rainforest 2:01
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In 2009, Universal International released Ryuichi Sakamoto's Playing the Piano, a collection of solo piano pieces he calls “self-covers”; that is, a newly recorded collection of his own compositons and themes performed solo. The set contains 12 selections. They are mostly themes from the films The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and The Sheltering Sky, with cues from others including "Bolerish," from Brian DePalma's 2002 film Femme Fatale. For the most part, it is a spare and lovely beauty of an album, with few surpises save for the elegance that Sakamoto performs these indelible pieces with. In 2010, Decca Records in the U.S. re-relased this album as a deluxe edition with a new one entitled Out of Noise, recorded during 2009. It, too, contains a dozen selections, all but one composed and recorded the year of release. This disc is the real surpise in the specially packaged and priced set. It concerns itself where music fades and enters into noise, and the no man's land where noise sorts itself out into a system recognized as music. Unlike Playing the Piano, Out of Noise is a more challenging, yet more compelling listen. While it begins with the poetic, atmospheric solo piano piece "Hibari," as a coda to Disc 1, it quickly launches into "Hwit" and "Still Life," both recorded with the U.K.-based viol ensemble Fretwork. The ambient "In the Red," with field-recorded voice samples, features guitarist Christian Fennesz. In 2008, Sakamoto participated in the Cape Farewell Disko Bay Expedition to study and observe climate change; there he visited Greenland's fastest moving glacier. Three of the pieces here -- "Disko," "Ice," and "Glacier" -- reflect the place where Sakamoto claims he left part of his soul. In them, the sounds of the glaicer and the surrounding landscape were recorded, then treated in the studio and added to by other musicians, including guitarist Keigo Oyamada, vocalist Karen H. Filskov, and Skúlli Sverrisson, who plays dobro on the final one of these. "To Standford" is a solo jazz piano piece, or rather has inside its grain, the beauty and ternderness of great jazz pianists from Bill Evans to Errol Garner to Kenny Drew. Ultimately, it's Out of Noise that makes the entire package worth buying for the first time, or purchasing Playing the Piano again. Despite revealing already known dimensions of Sakamoto's musical persona, it also uncovers new ones.
Ryuichi Sakamoto - Playing The Piano /out of noise tour book (flac 513mb)
02 lost child
04 lost theme.
05 bibo no aozora.
07 tibetan dance.
09 thousand knives.
10 merry christmas mr. lawrence.
11 the sheltering sky.
12 the last emperor.
15 put your hands up.
Ryuichi Sakamoto-Playing the Piano/Out of Noise tour book
16 concerto no.3 in d minor after alessandro marcello, bbw 974 II. adagio
19 flower is not a flower
22 energy flow
24 seven samurai
25 mizu no naka no bagatelle - suntory old cm
28 women without men
29 silk endroll
30 sweet revenge
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