Ryuichi Sakamoto (January 17, 1952 – March 28, 2023) was a Japanese composer, record producer, and actor who pursued a diverse range of styles as a solo artist and as a member of Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). With his bandmates Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, Sakamoto influenced and pioneered a number of electronic music genres.
Sakamoto began his career while at university in the 1970s as a session musician, producer, and arranger. His first major success came in 1978 as co-founder of YMO. He concurrently pursued a solo career, releasing the experimental electronic fusion album Thousand Knives in 1978.
Two years later, he released the album B-2 Unit. It included the track “Riot in Lagos”, which was significant in the development of electro and hip hop music. He went on to produce more solo records, and collaborate with many international artists, David Sylvian, Carsten Nicolai, Youssou N’Dour, and Fennesz among them. Sakamoto composed music for the opening ceremony of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, and his composition “Energy Flow” (1999) was the first instrumental number-one single in Japan’s Oricon charts history.
As a film-score composer, Sakamoto won an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Grammy, and 2 Golden Globe Awards. Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983) marked his debut as both an actor and a film-score composer; its main theme was adapted into the single “Forbidden Colours” which became an international hit. His most successful work as a film composer was The Last Emperor (1987), after which he continued earning accolades composing for films such as The Sheltering Sky (1990), Little Buddha (1993), and The Revenant (2015).
On occasion, Sakamoto also worked as a composer and a scenario writer on anime and video games. In 2009, he was awarded the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the Ministry of Culture of France for his contributions to music. (wikipedia)
Futurista (未来派野郎, translates literally as “Futurist Bastard”) is a 1986 album by Ryuichi Sakamoto with themed references to the Futurist Movement. “Parolibre” and “Milan 1909” include voice recordings of Futurist Filippo Tommaso Marinetti “G.T. II” contains samples from the song “Legs” by Art of Noise. (wikipedia)
Exceptional record. A piece of art. It is loosely structured around the Futurism art movement. 20 some years later and it is still thrilling and one of many many great Sakamoto records (by bluecats50)
Ryuichi Sakamoto is hot or cold for me. I’m either thrilled or bored to tears. There’s no in-between. As such, going into his vast discography can be a bit of a nail biter, time wise. Do I have the time to slog through contemplative jazz piano lps? Ambient new age clouds?
But to not take the chance would be to miss out on some wild stuff – like Futurista.
This album is mid-80’s synthpop fed through an avant garde / art pop grinder. It’s fuckin’ nuts. It’s maximal synth & sample.
Gigantic, slamming, sampled drums go to war with a bank of synths and movie samples. Dinky little digital pianos, fretless jazz funk bass and smooth American English vox R&B their way over unwavering mechanistic rhythms, noise metal guitars and Japanese vox.
It’s goofy mid-80’s pop wearing electro industrial armor and, frankly, it’s fantastic. Not sure how this played in Japan but it never made it over here outside the import market and to no surprise; It has as much in common with Cabaret Voltaire or Maffia as it does Debarge.
Wild, as much of Sak’s 80’s work is. (by Mars Hottentot)
For me a very unfamiliar, foreign music … but of course an important part of music history … many fantastic colors !
Ryuichi Sakamoto (various instruments, sampling, background vocals on 03.
Caoli Cano (vocals on 07.)
Bernard Fowler (vocals on 01., 03. + 04.)
Haruo Kubota (guitar on 01., 03., bass on 04.)
Maceo Parker (saxophone on 01.)
Kenji Suzuki (guitar on 01., 04., bass on 03.)
Minako Yoshida (background vocals on 02., 03., .04.)
The CD backcover:
01. Broadway Boogie Woogie (Sakamoto/Barakan) 4.28
02. Kodo Kogen (Sakamoto) 5.25
03. Ballet Mechanique (Sakamoto/Barakan/Yano) 5.10
04. G.T. II° (Sakamoto/Barakan/Yano) 4.04
05. Milan, 1909 (Sakamoto) 4.18
06. Variety Show (Sakamoto) 3.56
07. Daikokai – Verso Lo Schermo (Sakamoto/Cano) 5.26
08. Water Is Life (Sakamoto) 1.47
09. Parolibre (Sakamoto) 3.31
10. G.T. (Sakamoto) 4.28
Taken from he official website:
The official website: