Professor Sakamoto gives a lesson on what is practically a different style of music with each track on Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia, beginning with a sure-fire hit: the extroverted, quintessentially Japanese synth workout "Field Work" (with Thomas Dolby). From there, Sakamoto hits riff-ready crossover jazz-fusion ("Etude"), electronic minimalism ("M.A.Y. in the Backyard"), and Oriental dub ("Paradise Lost"). There is a return to sampladelic Eastern synth-pop with "Steppin' Into Asia," but for the most part Sakamoto displays his impressive stylistic range on this solo album.
AllMusic Review by John Bush