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Ryuichi Sakamoto|A Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto - To the Moon and Back

A Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto - To the Moon and Back

Ryuichi Sakamoto

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Very few musicians have had careers as diverse and exploratory as Ryuichi Sakamoto. From his early days of pioneering synth-pop with Yellow Magic Orchestra through a solo career that has encompassed contemporary classical, new wave, avant-garde electronics, movie scores, dance pop, and even bossa nova, Sakamoto has fearlessly punctured genre boundaries and infused all of his work with a sense of delicate style and insatiable curiosity. Now in his 70s and facing a recurring cancer diagnosis, he has approached the twilight of his career in the same way he has worked for the past 40-plus years: accepting praise and plaudits with graciousness, but refusing to either slow down (he has scored a half-dozen films in the last couple of years) or get mired in nostalgia. The approach of this tribute album is a perfect example. While a set like this is long overdue for an artist of Sakamoto's stature and prodigiousness, it steadfastly refuses to take an easy or obvious path with its material. It could have easily run to twice this length, but the concision of including just 13 wildly divergent pieces reworked by 13 wildly divergent artists makes To the Moon and Back remarkably effective as a reflection of Sakamoto's oeuvre. The range of contributors speaks to Sakamoto's influence; whether contemporaries and longtime collaborators including David Sylvian, Otomo Yoshihide, Fennesz, and Alva Noto, early disciples like Cornelius, or a dizzying kaleidoscope of fans including Thundercat, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Devonte Hynes, and others, there is no connective tissue in the lineup other than the same sense of sonic adventure that has driven Sakamoto's output. Unsurprisingly, the renditions (all dubbed "remodels") often bear little resemblance to the source material they are honoring, and instead are rendered unrecognizable or, in some cases, built upon a single core element of the original. "Grains," originally a wordless, ambient work Sakamoto did with Noto, is used as a foundation over which Sylvain sings.  Inversely, the Sylvian/Sakamoto song that's perhaps the most well-known—"Forbidden Colours"—gets redone by Gabrial Wek as an ambient piece. The rest of the album is similarly defiant of expectations. 1989's Beauty—perhaps Sakamoto's most explicitly "pop" album—is represented here by "Amore," which Fennesz turns into a hazy drone of synth washes and distorted melodies, while the iconic "Thousand Knives" gets recast by Thundercat into, well, a Thundercat song, full of wobbly, bubbly bass, atmospheric noodling, and cooing vocals. Even "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," which practically serves as Sakamoto's musical calling card, gets redone as a stark minimalist number that utilizes the original's indelible piano motif, but shifts it to something that evokes the synthetics of YMO. While Sakamoto may be feeling a bit reflective these days, this delightful combination provides plenty of evidence of how forward-looking his impact continues to be. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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A Tribute to Ryuichi Sakamoto - To the Moon and Back

Ryuichi Sakamoto

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1
Walker - Lim Giong Follow the Steps Remodel
00:04:42

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Lim Giong, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Lim Giong, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc., under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

2
Grains (Sweet Paulownia Wood) - David Sylvian Remodel
00:07:13

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Sylvian, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Carsten Nicolai, Composer - David Sylvian & Ryuichi Sakamoto, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc., David Sylvian & Noton under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

3
Thousand Knives - Thundercat Remodel
00:05:26

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Vic Wainstein, Engineer - Taylor Graves, Producer - Thundercat, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Thundercat, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc., under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

4
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence - Electric Youth Remodel
00:05:09

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Electric Youth, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Electric Youth, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc. & Recorded Picture Company, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

5
Thatness and Thereness - Cornelius Remodel
00:03:35

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - CORNELIUS, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Toyoaki Mishima, Mixing Engineer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Cornelius, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 Warner Music Japan, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

6
World Citizen I Won't Be Disappointed - Hildur Guðnadóttir Remodel
00:05:42

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Skuli Sverrisson, Composer, Recording Engineer - Hildur Guðnadóttir, Composer, Recording Engineer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Slater, Mixing Engineer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Hildur Guðnadóttir, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc. & David Sylvian, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

7
The Sheltering Sky - Alva Noto Remodel
00:04:49

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Alva Noto, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

8
Amore - Fennesz Remodel
00:04:40

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Fennesz, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - ARTO LINDSAY, Composer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Fennesz, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc., under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

9
Choral No. 1 - Devonté Hynes Remodel (Featuring Emily Schubert)
00:03:02

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Devonte Hynes, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Emily Schubert, Vocal Producer, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto, Devonté Hynes & Emily Schubert, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

10
DNA - The Cinematic Orchestra Remodel
00:04:32

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - The Cinematic Orchestra, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & The Cinematic Orchestra, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America Inc., under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

11
With Snow and Moonlight - snow, silence, partially sunny - Otomo Yoshihide Remodel
00:12:49

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Otomo Yoshihide, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sachiko M, Composer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Otomo Yoshihide, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB Inc. & Sachiko M, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

12
Forbidden Colours - Gabrial Wek Remodel
00:06:35

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - David Sylvian, Composer - Gabrial Wek, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & Gabrial Wek, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 KAB America, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

13
The Revenant Main Theme - 404.zero Remodel
00:03:53

Ryuichi Sakamoto, Composer, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Francesco Fabris, Mixing Engineer - 404.zero, Producer, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ryuichi Sakamoto & 404.zero, AssociatedPerformer

(P) 2022 New Regency, under exclusive license to Milan Records, a label of Sony Music Entertainment

Album Description

Very few musicians have had careers as diverse and exploratory as Ryuichi Sakamoto. From his early days of pioneering synth-pop with Yellow Magic Orchestra through a solo career that has encompassed contemporary classical, new wave, avant-garde electronics, movie scores, dance pop, and even bossa nova, Sakamoto has fearlessly punctured genre boundaries and infused all of his work with a sense of delicate style and insatiable curiosity. Now in his 70s and facing a recurring cancer diagnosis, he has approached the twilight of his career in the same way he has worked for the past 40-plus years: accepting praise and plaudits with graciousness, but refusing to either slow down (he has scored a half-dozen films in the last couple of years) or get mired in nostalgia. The approach of this tribute album is a perfect example. While a set like this is long overdue for an artist of Sakamoto's stature and prodigiousness, it steadfastly refuses to take an easy or obvious path with its material. It could have easily run to twice this length, but the concision of including just 13 wildly divergent pieces reworked by 13 wildly divergent artists makes To the Moon and Back remarkably effective as a reflection of Sakamoto's oeuvre. The range of contributors speaks to Sakamoto's influence; whether contemporaries and longtime collaborators including David Sylvian, Otomo Yoshihide, Fennesz, and Alva Noto, early disciples like Cornelius, or a dizzying kaleidoscope of fans including Thundercat, Hildur Guðnadóttir, Devonte Hynes, and others, there is no connective tissue in the lineup other than the same sense of sonic adventure that has driven Sakamoto's output. Unsurprisingly, the renditions (all dubbed "remodels") often bear little resemblance to the source material they are honoring, and instead are rendered unrecognizable or, in some cases, built upon a single core element of the original. "Grains," originally a wordless, ambient work Sakamoto did with Noto, is used as a foundation over which Sylvain sings.  Inversely, the Sylvian/Sakamoto song that's perhaps the most well-known—"Forbidden Colours"—gets redone by Gabrial Wek as an ambient piece. The rest of the album is similarly defiant of expectations. 1989's Beauty—perhaps Sakamoto's most explicitly "pop" album—is represented here by "Amore," which Fennesz turns into a hazy drone of synth washes and distorted melodies, while the iconic "Thousand Knives" gets recast by Thundercat into, well, a Thundercat song, full of wobbly, bubbly bass, atmospheric noodling, and cooing vocals. Even "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," which practically serves as Sakamoto's musical calling card, gets redone as a stark minimalist number that utilizes the original's indelible piano motif, but shifts it to something that evokes the synthetics of YMO. While Sakamoto may be feeling a bit reflective these days, this delightful combination provides plenty of evidence of how forward-looking his impact continues to be. © Jason Ferguson/Qobuz

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