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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca (UMO)

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Film Soundtracks - Released September 17, 2015 | Editions Milan Music

Little Buddha, the soundtrack for the movie of the same name, is all original music composed and conducted by Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sakamoto may be best known for his score to the movie The Sheltering Sky, for which he won a Golden Globe, and The Last Emperor, for which he won an Academy Award. Little Buddha exhibits all the emotion of the growing relationship in the movie between a young American boy and an old Lama, the breath-taking beauty of Nepal and the exotic Buddhist religion. ~ MusD
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Film Soundtracks - Released December 25, 2015 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released February 2, 1999 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 7, 2013 | 12K

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Electronic/Dance - Released January 20, 2015 | 12K

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Film Soundtracks - Released October 21, 2016 | Milan Records

Neo Geo innovator and international musical collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto has run the gamut in his lengthy career, from the Kraftwerk-inspired work of the Yellow Magic Orchestra and a handful of high-profile soundtracks, to several solo albums and various guest spots with Arto Lindsay, David Sylvian, Thomas Dolby, and Public Image Ltd., among many others. And on the heels of the YMO's breakup in 1983, Sakamoto jumped right into the fray with this soundtrack to director Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (Sakamoto also co-starred along with David Bowie). While not as sophisticated as the music he wrote for The Sheltering Sky and The Last Emperor (a collaboration with David Byrne), Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence does sport one of Sakamoto's most fetching pieces, "ForbiddenColours" (given many treatments, including a fine David Sylvian vocal version), and a few successful Asian and Western classical hybrids. Unfortunately, though, the music often bogs down in bloated, synth-washed musings and staid rhythmic underpinnings. Not the best introduction to Sakamoto's work, but certainly worth a cut-out bin price for the lovely variations on "Forbidden Colours." ~ Stephen Cook
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Electronic/Dance - Released February 16, 2018 | Milan Records

Ryuichi Sakamoto's async was among the most acclaimed experimental albums of 2017, as well as one of the veteran composer's most well-received solo works in decades. The original async pieces are inspired by everyday objects and sculptures, and they distill sounds and atmospheres into audio snapshots that might seem alien at first, but become clearer and more resonant on repeated listens. As the title suggests, a lot of the sounds seem to be arranged arrhythmically or randomly, but again, the more one listens, the more it's obvious that there's a rhyme and reason to everything happening on this album. Its subsequent remix collection features interpretations by a top-notch selection of artists who have clearly been inspired by Sakamoto, but inject their own personalities into his compositions. Some of the remixes seem to standardize Sakamoto's concepts a bit, making easy-to-follow rhythms snap in place, and emphasizing the melodies; Electric Youth turn "andata" into a chugging synthwave anthem, for example. By contrast, Oneohtrix Point Never takes the same piece and brings it from the shadows into heavenly columns of light. Both mixes sound great, but OPN's is far more dramatic. Regular Sakamoto collaborators Alva Noto and Fennesz make appearances, and both make their source material sound more like their respective solo recordings than their works with Sakamoto. Arca and Yves Tumor add their own vocals to their contributions, with Arca turning "async" into an operatic epic filled with steely, trudging beats that sound like a knight in a broken suit of armor crawling across the ground, but never giving up the fight. Cornelius' mix of "ZURE" might be the most surreal, filled with sudden pauses and brief, unexpected interjections of water drops, piano notes, and flanged feedback. Andy Stott's typically phenomenal "remodel" of "Life, Life" maintains a balance between airiness and heavy bass, and seems like a logical postscript to his excellent, YMO-inspired 2016 full-length, Too Many Voices. The collection ultimately ends up feeling like a tribute as well as a remix album, serving to highlight Sakamoto's considerable influence on generations of forward-thinking electronic musicians. ~ Paul Simpson
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Electronic/Dance - Released April 28, 2017 | Milan Records

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Soundtracks - Released November 18, 2016 | Silva Screen Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released April 28, 2017 | Milan Records

Booklet
Async is Ryuichi Sakamoto's first solo album since being diagnosed with throat cancer, which put his career on hold for much of 2014 and 2015. After treatment and a full year of recovery, he composed the acclaimed score to Alejandro G. Iñárritu's film The Revenant (which also featured contributions from Raster-Noton co-founder Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner of the National) before working on this album. He cites nature, everyday objects, and sculptures as influences on async, and its pieces incorporate recordings from various outdoor locations as well as museums, including a sound sculpture designed by Harry Bertoia. In addition to Sakamoto's piano playing and electronic processing, async features intimately recorded acoustic instruments (including a shamisen and a singing bowl), guitar/laptop wizardry from Christian Fennesz, and orchestral elements. The album is focused on combining musical as well as non-musical sounds, and it seems to function as scenes from daily life as well as musical compositions. As the album's title suggests, the individual parts of most of the album's pieces move at different rhythms or intervals, making them seem random at first. "Distintegration" is a prime example of this, beginning with John Cage-inspired prepared pianos and adding a steady high-pitched click, before light, immersive synthesizer washes transform the piece from sounding alien to soothing. As academic and non-emotional as all this might seem, Sakamoto still approaches his work from a human perspective, and there's more melody than there might appear on the surface. The album might be sparse, but it isn't hollow. "Solari" is a dark, hazy cloud of drifting melodies and deep organ tones, which are eventually joined by soft chords that sound like echoes of a faded Beach Boys tune. It's a bit eerie and haunting, but at the same time it's calm, familiar, and even comforting. "Stakra" is centered around a cascading synth sequence, which feels light and heavenly, but it's surrounded by deep bass thumps and fragmented glitches. Two tracks feature spoken poems reflecting on life, dreams, and death. "Life, Life" includes David Sylvian's reading of "And This I Dreamt, and This I Dream" by Arseny Tarkovsky, and "fullmoon" features a collage of several voices reciting Paul Bowles' "The Sheltering Sky" in different languages. Async is certainly not one of Sakamoto's most accessible albums, but if the listener is willing to devote several listens until it all makes sense, it ends up being quite powerful. ~ Paul Simpson
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Electronic/Dance - Released January 25, 2019 | Milan Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released December 25, 2015 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released March 2, 2018 | Milan Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released January 1, 1991 | Universal Music Division Mercury Records

Electronic/Dance - Released December 1, 2017 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released November 17, 2017 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released December 15, 2017 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 6, 2017 | Milan Records

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Electronic/Dance - Released October 20, 2017 | Milan Records

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