Yeah it was. And yes it was amazing being in his presence (I mean, I adore Alva Noto too, but Sakamoto was just such a unique figure)
If anyone hasn’t listened to Async, go do so. It’s pretty much him reckoning with mortality, very heavy listen but beautiful.
RIP, and one of those people where I love everything I’ve heard but still have so much too explore (and no doubt, so did he - being as exploratory and experimental as he was). I love async, and the work he did with Fennesz - but the thing that introduced me to him (though I wasn’t aware of it at the time) was the theme from ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’.
It was one of the tracks on this tape that a teacher would put on while we all walked into assemblies at primary school, and I remember humming it while walking home from school one day (or somewhere) and my dad quizzically wondering how I’d picked up the theme song from the deeply melancholic 1980s prisoner of war drama Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. Definitely one of the first pieces of music that ever caught me unawares and spoke to me on an unconscious level.
I love this clip someone posted of him playing it while Bowie looks on
for any fellow MUBI heads, this doc is currently up on there: Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda (2017) | MUBI
Know and like Yellow Magic Orchestra but Sakamoto’s solo stuff had always been a bit of a blind spot for me.
Recently become kind of obsessed with the Thousand Knives album. Can only imagine how mindblowing it must’ve sounded in 1978.
Is there anything else he’s done that’s kind of that more (for want of a better word) maximalist ilk? Listened to some of his more ambient/soundtrack stuff and while it’s all very nice doesn’t quite scratch that itch of what I’m looking for.
Had Perpetual on today, one he did with Illuha (Corey Fuller and someone else) and Taylor Deupree which is a live recording. Beautiful as you would expect