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Ryuichi Sakamoto: Japanese electronic music maestro dies

Ryuichi Sakamoto, a well-known Japanese composer and producer who was known for experimenting with electronic music, has died. He was 71 years old.

His work as a solo artist and as a member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) earned him a number of accolades, including an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, and a Bafta Award, among others.

In the year 2021, Sakamoto received a second cancer diagnosis after the initial one. According to his office, he passed away on Tuesday.

In 1983, he co-starred alongside David Bowie in the Christmas movie Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

In 1987, he was awarded an Academy Award, a Grammy, and a Golden Globe for his work on the film score for “The Last Emperor.” In addition to that, he had a role in the film, which was an epic recounting the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China.

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At the age of ten, Sakamoto began studying composition, and he cited the Beatles and Debussy as his primary sources of inspiration.

Ryuichi Sakamoto co-founded YMO in 1978 with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, playing keyboards at the time. Their synthesizer innovations influenced techno-pop and hip-hop music at the time.

In 2010, he stated that “Asian music heavily influenced Debussy, and Debussy heavily influenced me. So the music goes around the world and comes full circle.” In other words, “the music goes around the world and comes full circle.”

Prof. Brian Cox, a physicist and a former keyboard player with the bands Dare and D:Ream, lauded Sakamoto in a tweet, saying, “He was a big part of my ’80s musical experience, initially for me through his work with David Sylvian and Japan, but of course, he leaves a magnificent catalogue of music behind.” Sakamoto passed away on January 11, 2016.

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During an interview in 2018, Sakamoto discussed his efforts to break free from the constraints of traditional Western musical composition.

“When I write scores, my thinking is restricted to the forms of Western composition that I learned when I was a teenager. However, I have always wanted to break it, break the wall, or break the limits that I am trapped inside. Sometimes using electronics or blending with electronic sounds can help to break down this wall.”

In addition to that, he relished experimenting with music of all kinds. “When I first open my eyes in the morning, the first thing that goes through my mind is, ‘Hmm, what kind of music should I listen to today?'” “Sometimes, by chance or randomly, you know, some music comes to my mind. To me, there is no genre difference or category difference; music is music.”

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In Japan, he was also well-known for his work as an environmental activist, especially in the years following the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s father was a literary editor for Japanese authors, including Kenzaburo Oe, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was born in 1952.

Ryuichi Sakamoto received a classical music education while he was a student, but he went on to earn a degree in ethnomusicology from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music.

Ryuichi Sakamoto was enamored with music from all over the world, including that of Okinawa Island, which is located in Japan.

Later collaborations with Brian Eno, Alva Noto, and cellist Jaques Morelenbaum were among his highlights. Sakamoto’s daughter, Miu Sakamoto, is a J-pop singer.

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