Sonic Cure

This performance by Ryuichi Sakamoto was commissioned by the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art and streamed live via the Kuaishou app, which has over 300million users. Entitled “Voluntary Garden Online Concert: Sonic Cure”, nine musicians were selected to perform. They all had various styles and differences in their art and included Sakamoto (b. 1952) to Liu Yucao (b. 1995), multimedia artist Feng Mengbo to suona master Guo Yazhi, all coming together to give an improvised concert, performing in relay via the Kuaishou app.

The UCCA website shares that this performance on 29 February 2020 featured musicians Feng Mengbo, Huang Jin, “Two Chamber Quarters” Pang Kuan, and Xia Yuyan who are in Beijing; Zhang Meng in Shanghai; Feng Hao in Hefei; Liu Yucao and Guo Yazhi in Boston; and Ryuichi Sakamoto in New York. The seven solo performers and one duo each performed an unprecedented musical conversation broadcast to audiences across the world. In this featured post, we showcase Mr. Sakamoto’s act.

A renowned keyboardist and songwriter attached to the Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he is a synth pop pioneer and famed for solo experiments that collaborated with global genres and classical impressionism that led to him scoring over 30 films including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor and The Sheltering Sky, and Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant. In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. “Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,” said Sakamoto in early 2019. “What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.”

Mr. Sakamoto wanted to share this with you who are in isolation.

Here is another performance, dedicated to the isolated: and a fan-produced playlist from his album Energy Flow.

Coming up…

Ryuichi Sakamoto:
seeing sound
hearing time

M WOODS is presenting an exhibition devoted to Ryuichi Sakamoto. The exhibition is Sakamoto’s first institutional solo show in China. It includes work in various media from the last thirty years and new outdoor site-specific installations made especially for M WOODS.

Exhibition Dates: 5 March 2021 – August 8, 2021

With collaborative works by Shiro Takatani Daito Manabe Zakkubalan Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Curated by Sachiko Namba, Victor Wang, Zhang Youdai. (Source: Instagram)

Editor’s note: AFT has dedicated 2021 to raising awareness about non-communicable diseases. Diagnosed with stage three throat cancer in 2014, Mr. Sakamoto told Thailand Tatler in an interview that even listening to music was “too hard for me—maybe because music is too important to me. To enjoy it requires a certain amount of energy, and I lost a lot of it during [that time]”. On behalf of AFT, we wish him continuous improvement in his health and deep appreciation for his art. Thank you and take care, Mr. Sakamoto.

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