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Ryuichi Sakamoto

Music For Film

    From small beginnings in 1974 as a local cinema and university event, Film Fest Gent has grown yearly in stature and is now recognised as one of the major destinations for the film industry. A vital component is the celebration of film music in the shape of the World Soundtrack Awards which honours the very best composers at work in the world of cinema.

    In 2016 the award went to one of the most brilliant composers of his generation, Ryuichi Sakamoto. This is the first overview of his remarkable catalogue of film scores, fully approved by the composer and performed by the masterful Brussels Philharmonic under the baton of Dirk Brossé. Sakamoto was already a celebrated pioneer in electronic music and composer/pianist/singer in Japan when director Nagisa Oshima asked him to write the score for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence in 1983 and also to star alongside David Bowie.

    In a 30 year plus career since then he has worked with the cream of film directors including Bernardo Bertolucci (The Last Emperor), Brian De Palma (Snake Eyes), Pedro Almodovar (High Heels) and most recently Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (The Revenant). This compilation is a fitting tribute to his status as one of the greatest living musicians and film composers.


    1. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Main Theme (From “Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence”)
    2. Endroll (From “The Last Emperor”)
    3. Rain (From “The Last Emperor”)
    4. The Sheltering Sky Main Theme (From “The Sheltering Sky”)
    5. High Heels Main Theme (From “High Heels”)
    6. Wild Palms Main Theme (From “Wild Palms”)
    7. Acceptance (From “Little Buddha”)
    8. Snake Eyes Main Theme (long Version) (From “Snake Eyes”)
    9. Bolerish (From “Femme Fatale”)
    10. Bibo No Aozora (From “Babel”)
    11. Small Hope (From “Hara-Kiri (Ichimei)”)
    12. Yae No Sakura Opening Theme (From “Yae No Sakura”)
    13. The Revenant Main Theme (From “The Revenant”)

    The early '80s were a turning point for Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto. As a solo artist, the smash hit soundtrack he had composed for 1983's "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" (a film in which he had also acted), had put him on the verge of becoming a global superstar. Meanwhile he had called a halt to his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra; the influential, globally successful pop trio calling it quits after the release of their 1983 album "Naughty Boys".

    Against this backdrop, Sakamoto descended on Tokyo's Onkyo Haus Studio to record his fourth solo album, "Ongaku Zukan" ("Musical Encyclopedia") accompanied by a handful of musicians including his ex-YMO partners Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, and the prolifically talented Yasuaki Shimizu, Tatsuro Yamashita and Toshinori Kondo. Sakamoto began with no particular plan in mind, recording 30 basic tracks over the best part of 1983. It was on his return to the studio the following year that the album truly began to take shape. Accompanied by a newly acquired Fairlight CMI sampler, the musician made extensive use of the revolutionary equipment to create a wide palette of sound textures which he added to the tracks, a creatively fertile process that was captured on film for the French documentary "Tokyo Melody, A Film about Ryuichi Sakamoto".)

    Released in August 1984 the album "Ongaku Zukan" proved a huge success, providing Sakamoto with his first top 5 hit in Japan. Filled with inspired melodies that showcase his unique gift as a composer, it offers up a fascinating mix of styles. Asiatic electro pop nuggets ("Tibetan Dance") share space with futuristic ambient pieces ("Hane no Hayashi de"), and brilliantly creative fusions of jazz, funk, techno and reggae ("Etude" and "Tabi no Kyokuhoki.")

    Two simultaneous editions of the album were released in Japan: the regular one featuring a bonus 7" EP with two extra tracks: "Replica" and "Ma Mère l'Oye" while a limited edition added a 12" EP (in lieu of the 7") which included a third track, "Tibetan Dance (Version)." An international version was released two years later in 1986 by 10 Records/Virgin under the title "Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia," but with a very different track list. Five tracks from "Ongaku Zukan" were dropped, namely "Self Portrait," "Tabi no kyokuhoku," "Mori no Hito," "A Tribute to N.J.P" and "Tibetan Dance (Version)", to be replaced by two non-album singles from 1985, "Stepping Into Asia" and "Field Work."

    This is the very first time that the two 1984 Japanese editions of Ryuichi Sakamoto's classic album have been released internationally in collaboration with the artist's management and Midi Inc., with remastered audio and the original artwork faithfully reproduced, paying tribute to one of contemporary music's undisputed geniuses.


    1. Tibetan Dance
    2. Etude
    3. Paradise Lost
    4. Self Portrait
    5. Ɨ

    Ryuichi Sakamoto And Alva Noto

    The Revenant OST - 2023 Reissue

      The Revenant: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is a soundtrack album for the 2015 action drama film composed by Japanese master and Oscar winner Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto with additional music by Bryce Dessner.

      While the soundtrack album features the music composed specifically for the film, there are many contemporary compositions featured in the film. The score was nominated for Best Original Score at the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, and Best Film Music at the 2016 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs). Specialist marketing activity.

      Ryuichi Sakamoto

      Async - 2023 Reissue

        'async' is the nineteenth solo studio album of Ryuichi Sakamoto and his first one in eight years since Out of Noise (2009). Consisting of a combination of bizarre interpretations of familiar musical instruments, unusual textures both acoustic and electronically made, samples of recordings of people such as David Sylvian and Paul Bowles doing readings, and everyday sounds borrowed from field recordings of city streets, async has underlying themes of the worries of the end of life and the interaction of differing viewpoints in humanity.


        Life, Life

        Ryuichi Sakamoto

        Hidari Ude No Yume - 2023 Reissue

          Wewantsounds is proud to announce the reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto's third solo album "Hidari Ude No Yume" (Left Handed Dream), originally released in 1981 on the Alfa label. Save for a small-scale Dutch vinyl release in 1981, it is the first time the album's original Japanese edition is released outside of Japan (the European release on Epic Records included significantly different tracks and mixes). Newly remastered from the original tapes by renowned engineer Bernie Grundman, this LP edition comes with original artwork featuring a striking cover shot by famous photographer Masayoshi Sukita (sourced from the original negative), OBI strip and 4-page insert with new introduction by journalist Anton Spice. The album will also be released as a 2-LP limited edition gatefold including the album's full instrumental mix.


          1. Boku No Kakera
          2. Saru To Yuki To Gomi No Kodomo
          3. Kacha Kucha Nee
          4. The Garden Of Poppies
          5. Relâché
          6. Tell 'Em To Me
          7. Living In The Dark
          8. Slat Dance
          9. Venezia
          10. Saru No Ie

          Ryuichi Sakamoto

          Esperanto - 2023 Reissue

            Wewantsounds continues their Ryuichi Sakamoto reissue series with the release of the 1985 album "Esperanto", composed for a performance by New York avant garde choreographer Molissa Fenley. Produced and performed by Sakamoto with contribution by Arto Lindsay and Japanese percussionist Yas-Kaz, "Esperanto" is a fascinating instrumental work mixing electronica, ambient and synth pop. Released in Japan in 1985 on Midi Inc.s' School label, the album has never been released outside of Japan until now. This special reissue comes with original artwork including a 2 pages insert with a new introduction by Journalist Andy Beta. The audio has been remastered in Tokyo by Seigen Ono.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. A Wongga Dance Song
            2. The
            3. A Rain Song
            4. Dolphins
            5. A Human Tube
            6. Adelic Penguins
            7. A Carved Stone
            8. Ulu Watu

            Ryuichi Sakamoto


              Milan Records is proud to release “12,” an intimate collection of twelve compositions by Ryuichi Sakamoto, written and recorded in Tokyo during his fight with cancer throughout 2021-2022. Each numbered title refers to its recording date.

              About the album, Sakamoto says: “…after I finally ‘came home’ to my new temporary housing after a big operation, I found myself reaching for the synthesizer. I had no intention of composing something; I just wanted to be showered in sound. I’ll probably continue to keep this kind of ‘diary.’”

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Barry says: A strikingly beautiful, starkly minimal suite of ambient piano and atmospheric room noise, pulled together by one of the most legendary figures in the world of synth music. It's hugely moving, with layers of emotion wrought through the brittle playing and Sakamoto's undeniable ear for composition. Stunning.

              TRACK LISTING

              20220302 - Sarabande

              Various Artists

              A Tribute To Ryuichi Sakamoto: To The Moon And Back

                Milan Records release this tribute to legendary Japanese composer, artist, producer & environmental activist Ryuichi Sakamoto. A 13 song collection of songs from Sakamoto's vast catalogue, newly reworked & remodelled by contemporary artists & collaborators, including David Sylvian, Thundercat, Devonte Hynes, Hildur Guonadottir, Cornelius, Alva Noto, Liam Giong & more... 

                Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto

                Vrioon - 2022 Reissue

                  Pioneers in their own musical approaches, Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, began their exploration of sound in the evocatively titled V.I.R.U.S series in 2002. After more than a decade from the release of the collection's final installment with “Summvs” in 2011, NOTON reissues all the five albums between June and October 2022.

                  With its impressionistic atmosphere, in this collaborative project two generations met and shared the idea of electronic music as an inspiration source for new musical structures. Over a series of five albums, Vrioon (2002),Insen (2005), Revep (2006), utp_ (2008), and summvs (2011), the duo have explored blending electronic and acoustic sounds into a meditative whole that is at once expressive, breathing and precision-engineered.

                  Remastered in collaboration with Calyx Mastering, the recordings of Vrioon, Insen, Revep, Utp_, and Summvs are made available on vinyl and CD under the title ‘reMASTER, accompanied by exclusive, unreleased compositions and housed in a beautifully designed sleeve with original cover art by Carsten Nicolai. 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  A1. Uoon I (00:13:50)
                  A2. Uoon II (00:09:40)
                  B1. Duoon (00:05:47)
                  B2. Noon (00:10:12)
                  C1. Trioon I (00:05:08)
                  C2. Trioon II (00:09:57)
                  D1. Landscape Skizze (00:08:12)

                  Ryuichi Sakamoto & David Toop

                  Garden Of Shadows And Light

                    Garden of Shadows and Light is the first collaboration between Ryuichi Sakamoto and David Toop, presenting the entirety of a concert performed in London in August 2018. With their collective musical experience encompassing collaborative work with figures as diverse as Evan Parker, Akiko Yano, Arto Lindsay and Christian Fennesz, in contexts ranging from pop session work to film scores to sound installation, no one could be sure how Sakamoto and Toop would approach their first concert together as a duo.

                    From the opening moments, in which Sakamoto’s delicate inside-piano work is paired with distant scrapes and moans from Toop’s prepared lap steel guitar, it became immediately clear that a subtle, at times hushed, form of free improvisation is being practiced here, one in which space, pause and silence often take on heightened importance. The album’s title takes inspiration from the aesthetics of Japanese gardening, and the spatial metaphor this suggests is apt, as listeners can imagine themselves wandering through a subtly changing environment, chancing on beautiful details and admiring them before moving on. We are led through a series of discrete moments, each uniquely shaded, whether by highly amplified small percussive sounds, austere electronic tones or the mournful tones of Toop’s bass recorder. The course of the music follows a non-teleological drift, in which Sakamoto and Toop seem less concerned with establishing an overarching structure than in allowing each moment the space it needs to develop and breathe.

                    When Sakamoto eventually turns to the piano’s keyboard in the performance’s second half, the music becomes lushly enveloping, as his jaggedly lyrical lines float against a backdrop of prepared guitar and field recordings. The music takes a radical, unexpected turn when Sakamoto picks up an electric guitar, with both players turning up the volume for a passage of distorted roar and shuddering feedback – bracing evidence of the unfettered, exploratory approach shared by these two uncategorisable musicians, beautifully documented here. 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    A. Part 1
                    B. Part 2

                    Ryuichi Sakamoto

                    Hidari Ude No Yume

                      This is Ryuichi Sakamoto’s landmark 1981 album reissued for the first time in decades outside of Japan. The album is superb blend of Electro, funk and ambient. All remastered by Bernie Grundman with new introduction by British Journalist Anton Spice. Wewantsounds reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s third solo album “Hidari Ude No Yume” (Left Handed Dream), originally released in 1981 on the Alfa label. Save for a small-scale Dutch vinyl release in 1981, it is the first time the album’s original Japanese edition is released outside of Japan (the European release on Epic Records included significantly different tracks and mixes).

                      TRACK LISTING

                      CD 1:
                      Boku No Kakera
                      Saru To Yuki To Gomi No Kodomo
                      Kacha Kucha Nee
                      The Garden Of Poppies
                      Rel Ch
                      Tell ‘Em To Me
                      Living In The Dark
                      Slat Dance
                      VeneziaSaru No Ie

                      CD 2:
                      Boku No Kakera (Instrumental Mix)
                      Saru To Yuki Gomi No Kodomo (Instrumental Mix)
                      Kacha Kucha Nee (Instrumental Mix)
                      The Garden Of Poppies (Instrumental Mix)
                      Rel Ch (Instrumental Mix)
                      Tell ‘Em To Me (Instrumental Mix)
                      Living In The Dark (Instrumental Mix)
                      Slat Dance (Instrumental Mix)
                      Venezia (Instrumental Mix)
                      Saru No Ie (Instrumental Mix)

                      Boku No Kakera
                      Saru To Yuki To Gomi No Kodomo
                      Kacha Kucha Nee
                      The Garden Of Poppies
                      Rel Ch
                      Tell ‘Em To Me
                      Living In The Dark
                      Slat Dance
                      Saru No Ie

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