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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

The driving force behind "Neo Geo" — a cutting-edge fusion combining Asian and Western classical music with other global textures and rhythms — pioneering electronic composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was among the most innovative artists to emerge during the 1980s. Born January 17, 1952, in Tokyo, he took up piano at the age of three, and regularly performed in jazz bands while in high school. Sakamoto's musical tastes exposed him to everyone from the Beatles to Beethoven and John Cage, and he...
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BTTB, Ryuichi Sakamoto
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