Ryuichi Sakamoto


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One of Sakamoto's strangest, most uncompromising albums, Esperanto features music written for a dance performance by New Yorker Melissa Fenley. Using weird, clipped samples of ethnic instruments, electronically modified sound bites, and distorted vocals, Sakamoto builds a very icy soundscape that juts out at the listener like pointy modernist architecture. Leaving lots of breathing space in the arrangements for the dancers, this is music that stretches langorously over rhythms and snatches of melody. "Dolphins" is bright and shiny with its synth bursts and backwards notes; "Adelic Penguins" is the closest Sakamoto gets to techno here, with bits and bops of a melody exploding over a propulsive bassline. A far cry from the more symphonic Sakamoto, but equally intriguing.

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