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April 20th, 2019


Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon

As far as decades go, the 1980s were pretty much the pits. It did significant damage to music, many once great artists embraces its tawdry pop and in some cases never recovering. The synthesisers of those years are something I can never bring myself to willingly listen to.

That's why over the years I've steered clear of Ryuichi Sakamoto. Sure the guy's got a great rep but if I never have to hear Behind The Mask or his theme to Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence again I won't be sorry. But I gave his 2017 album Async a try and I've got to tell you, it's a whole other story. It was written after his recovery from throat cancer and it's a thoughtful and mature ambient work. The most emotionally impactful piece is probably Fullmoon, which opens with Paul Bowles reading from The Sheltering Sky. It's an excerpt that deals with mortality and how little time we have left, how seldom we will ever do again those things we love. And so when it finishes, Sakamoto brings his friends together to read the thing again, translated into their own languages, layer after layer of them. It could be frantic but it is not, there is space among the piano and the the drones for them all. It feels elegiac rather than rushed. A work of great love.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Fullmoon