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Album Review

The album 1996 contains 12 pieces arranged for violin (Everton Nelson, David Nadien, or Barry Finclair), cello (Jaques Morelenbaum), and piano (Ryuichi Sakamoto), including both new compositions and music used in the soundtracks to The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Sheltering Sky, and High Heels. The music is for the most part restrained and reflective, as Sakamoto makes use of the contrasting timbres of the chamber instrumentation, mixing melodic and rhythmic effects soothingly (the exceptions being the more quick-moving "M.A.Y. in the Backyard" and "1919," which uses a barely audible voice and staccato playing to stirring effect).

Customer Reviews

Only for the smart and awesome...

...Sakamoto is simply brilliant. First enamoured of his work for the modern version of Wuthering Heights, I was pleased to come upon "1996" on this, the magic we call iTunes. For the connoisseur of all things good and beautiful, this sublime album is essential.

The brainchild of Sakamoto.

Sakamoto's unique style of new and old is appealing to audiences of all ages. His music presents the idealistic simplicity and graceful complexity that any artist could ever hope to attain. Each track conveys a message of strong emotion though a sinuous pattern of violin and piano. Simply, his art is masterful and encapsulating. This is the karma of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s classical style. Without a doubt, this album is his best to date.

One of Mr. Sakamoto's Finest

I first stumbled across Ryuichi Sakamoto during the last few minutes of the motion picture 'Babel'. After the first few seconds of Bibo No Aozora/ 04, Mr. Sakamoto had me hooked. Most of the music I have from him comes from this album, the little piece of heaven known as '1996'. Each track keeps hitting hard with beautiful sounds, bringing out true emotion with every beat, especially 'Rain' and 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence'. Even if you're not a fan of the piano or violin, or dislike duets I still highly recommend this excellent piece of audio art.


Born: January 17, 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...
Full Bio
1996, Ryuichi Sakamoto
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