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Ryuichi Sakamoto

Milan / Masterworks

Regular price
$60.00 SGD
Regular price
Sale price
$60.00 SGD


12 marks the 15th solo studio album from Sakamoto and the first of new solo material since 2017’s async. The album features 12 songs selected from a collection of musical sketches Sakamoto recorded like a sound diary between 2021 and 2022 during his ongoing battle with cancer. Each track is titled and sequenced by the date in which it was written, culminating in a collection of music that provides an intimate snapshot into this period of Sakamoto’s life.

Of the album, Skamoto says, “In early March 2021, I finally ‘came home’ to my new temporary housing after a big operation and a long stay in the hospital. Around the end of March, just as my body was feeling a little lighter, I found myself reaching for the synthesizer. I had no intention of composing something; I just wanted to be showered in sound. I had a feeling that it’d have a small healing effect on my damaged body and soul. Up until then, I barely had the energy to listen to music, let alone play anything. But after that day, I began to occasionally touch the keys of the synthesizer and piano, and I began to record little sketches of sounds as if to write a diary. I tried choosing 12 of my favorite sketches for this album. There are no adornments—I’m intentionally putting them out as is. From now on, until my body gives out, I’ll probably continue to keep this kind of ‘diary.’” - Label

A collection of ambient etudes for piano and synthesizer, the album is strikingly minimal in its arrangements. Tracks are titled and sequenced in the order in which they were committed to tape, lending the album a diaristic feel. (Only the final cut, an atmospheric, minute-long recording of tinkling bells, is presented out of order.) The pieces move softly through space and time, emphasizing the reverberant textures of the room in which they were recorded.

“20210310” opens with a bristling synth tone that grows and expands slowly, alternating between high and low notes that brush up against the thresholds of human hearing in each direction. The piece rises and falls with a clear contrapuntal arc that never resolves into a melody. Others, like “20220202” and “20220214,” are similarly atmospheric, made up of raw, unvarnished sounds; they feel more like demos than the focused interventions of Sakamoto’s past solo records. - Pitchfork


Label: Masterworks
2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Genre: Electronic, Classical
Style: Ambient, Modern Classical