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Album Review

In a departure from his more electronically amplified works, composer and pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto's BTTB stands as a sometimes contemplative, periodically nostalgic, and often new age-sounding acoustic piano album. At the time that Sakamoto began composing for BTTB, he thought that a CD of piano music felt right, though he was not sure of what kind of styles he wanted to play around with. Instead of settling on one or two styles, the renowned pianist and composer experimented with several. For instance, on BTTB, Sakamoto delves into avant-garde piano techniques, playing a prepared piano on the gently circular "Prelude" and "Uetax." With his song "Bachata," Sakamoto interprets folkloric music from the Dominican Republic. Sakamoto's two choral-inspired pieces, "Choral No. 1" and "Choral No. 2," were born out of his fascination with Bach's "St. Mathew Passion" and medieval-esque Gregorian chants. On BTTB, Sakamoto also plays with a variety of themes. On the CD's first two tracks, "Energy Flow" and "Put Your Hands Up — Piano Version," Sakamoto is concerned with issues of healing and therapy. With "Railroad Man," the CD's third track, the pianist and composer attempts to depict the ambience of steam locomotives. All in all, BTTB is a mellifluous CD that highlights Sakamoto's heartfelt dedication to the piano and fascination with various musical traditions. [This edition contains bonus tracks.]

Biography

Born: 17 January 1952 in Tokyo, Japan

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As one-third of Yellow Magic Orchestra and an Academy Award-winning composer for his work on the soundtrack for The Last Emperor, synth pop innovator Ryuichi Sakamoto is among the most groundbreaking artists to have emerged since the late '70s. The driving force behind "Neo Geo," a cutting-edge fusion of Asian and Western classical music with other global textures and rhythms, he has been equally adept in electronic and acoustic settings, whether recording in solitude or in tandem, with decades of...
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BTTB, Ryuichi Sakamoto
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