Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sakamoto - Mighty Maestro

In all the talk of Oscar snubs, one name forgotten was that of the master composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. The Leopard become aware of the brilliant musician from the soundtrack of The Bertolucci film The Last Emperor, a collaboration between he and David Byrne, where some of the most beautiful themes were Sakamoto’s own.  Going back, I discovered that Sakamoto was part of Japan’s early pop electronic music scene, and an integral part of the influential band Yellow Magic Orchestra (or YMO). The ambitious musician went on to become a solo artist, creating innovative music in all manner of genres - electronic, jazz, classical, which led to his scoring the soundtrack to the film Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence to international acclaim.  His latest project, co-composer of the multi-nominated The Revenant was another triumph last year. Up against the stiff completion of the return of Ennio Morricone for The Hateful Eight and John Williams for Star Wars The Force Awakens, his superb work unfortunately went unnoticed by the academy. Pity the fools.