Maaya Sakamoto


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Maaya Sakamoto is best known in the Japanese pop world for her constant collaboration with ├╝bercomposer Yoko Kanno on a number of classic pieces of theme music. Along with those, however, she has released a number of solo albums over the years. Everywhere collects pieces from both worlds, assembling her original pieces alongside Kanno's compositions, both hailing from over 15 years of singing. The result is an extraordinary range of sound. Sakamoto's voice is bright, almost twinkling, but contains just enough breathiness to add depth of emotion to her delivery. The songs themselves range from the light jazz of "Mameshiba" to the plaintive piano ballad of "Gravity" to the worldbeat of "Kiseki no Umi." Sakamoto keeps the same basic vocal qualities regardless of the composition, but focuses them in different voicings and phrasings. This allows her to shift from mournful to joyous with very little objective change, but massive qualitative differences. Sakamoto is young for this much output, but has earned her following with an exceptional sensitivity to the songs. There's a previous best-of compilation (Nikopachi) available with similar selections, but the theme music has been augmented for this release, only adding to the massive set. Sakamoto's voice combined with the compositions of Kanno (for some of the tracks at least) should provide plenty of ear candy for even the most jaded listeners.