Thursday, 15 September 2016

Back in full, but gentle, force

Photo: Wing Shya, 2015

Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the unquantifiable living giants of music, stated just over two years ago that he has to withdraw from his numerous projects due to a throat cancer diagnosis.

In a characteristically humble manner, he was even apologizing to his fans for taking the "unavoidable decision" without being able to state a time frame for his return.

Last year came the superb news, that Sakamoto-san is feeling great and looking forward to returning to work.

The grand Master of infinitely subtle, gentle, but all the more poignant harmonies was back in full force.

His latest project, soon to be released via Milan Records (but already freely streamable), shows that Sakamoto-san is still very much at the dizzying heights of his creative, and above all, expressive force.

His soundtrack for Nagasaki: Memories Of My Son is breathtakingly poignant and emotional in the unique Sakamoto way... It is not a vast orchestral drama, it is not a wall-to-wall sentimental journey.

Instead, the exquisitely delicate, fragile, minimalist patterns, the incredibly restrained subtle orchestrations make it into a maximally powerful emotional journey.

The 28 short tracks to be released on the album are a series of gems that work on their own, too, and take us from the ethereal piano minimalism of How Are You? to the powerfully economical orchestral chords of Human-Induced Tragedy

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" said Leonardo da Vinci once... and Ryuichi Sakamoto is, once again, at his most sophisticated in the perfectly distilled apparent simplicity of these tiny pieces.

How can one create such imagery and subtle beauty with a few woodwind notes in Raindrops... or such deep sense of despair without any over-dramatisation in Giving Up ?

Sakamoto-san is truly back, in full force, but a force of such gentleness and of such delicate beauty, that one has to hope this is just one of many more musical journeys he will take us in coming years. 

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