Artist picture of Ryuichi Sakamoto

Ryuichi Sakamoto

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Artist's top tracks

Forbidden Colours David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto 04:42
Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence Ryuichi Sakamoto 04:36
End Ryuichi Sakamoto 03:53
Germination Ryuichi Sakamoto 02:09
oxygen Ryuichi Sakamoto 03:48
Rain Ryuichi Sakamoto 03:40
Minamata Piano Theme Ryuichi Sakamoto 02:50
Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum, Everton Nelson 04:46
The Revenant Main Theme Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto 02:41
Forbidden Colours David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto 05:52

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As a pioneering force in Japanese music since the late-1970s, Ryuichi Sakamoto has composed soundtracks for Academy Award-winning films, best-selling video games and the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Barcelona, while building a body of work that spans from experimental, hyperactive synth-pop to graceful, classical melodies.

Raised in Tokyo, he started learning piano at the age of three and played in jazz bands in high school, before studying at the National University of Fine Arts and Music and working as a session musician. Forming the experimental electro trio Yellow Magic Orchestra in 1970, the group's use of traditional Japanese and classical melodies with synths and drum machines made for a new kind of techno-pop music that topped the Asian Charts, became hugely influential in Europe and America and was even sampled by hip-hop stars such as Afrika Bambaataa and De La Soul. His debut solo album 'Thousand Knives' continued to meld delicate, simple hooks with ambient Moog sounds, but the 1980 follow-up 'B-2 Unit' adopted more aggressive funk and dub bass lines and produced his landmark single 'Riot in Lagos'.

He acted in and produced the soundtrack to WWII drama 'Merry Christmas , Mr Lawrence', starring David Bowie, and went on to make music for more than 35 movies, including 'The Revenant', 'The Sheltering Sun' and most famously 'The Little Emperor', for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1987. Other notable solo albums included 'Beauty', which featured guest appearances from Robert Wyatt, Brian Wilson, Robbie Robertson and Youssou N'Dour, and his classical piano collections '1996' and 'Heartbeat', on which he explored Afrobeat, Eastern and reggae influences. A battle with throat cancer put his career on hold, but he returned with acclaimed new album 'asnyc' in 2017.