[above image credit: Fact]
This week’s Mix to Dig comes from a somewhat unlikely source. If you haven’t heard Ryuichi Sakamoto’s name before, you will have certainly heard his work. At 65 years of age, the Japanese ‘musician, composer, record producer, pianist, activist, writer, actor and dancer’ (as described in his Wikipedia page) has been involved in some of the most influential musical developments of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. From his pioneering use of early synthesisers as part of the group “Yellow Magic Orchestra” with which he produced cult classics (search for their song “Firecracker” for a good dose of nostalgia), to his spine-tingling composition of film scores, most notably for “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence” (an all-time favourite piece of music, written by Sakamoto for the film in which he also starred alongside David Bowie) and “The Revenant”.
In a career that has spanned the best part of 40 years, during which he has picked up numerous Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, Sakamoto has achieved more success and acclaim than most could imagine, and certainly more than can be described in this article.
So, it was with great excitement that his name was announced for a 1 hour slot on NTS Radio. As opposed to our typical Mixes to Dig, this one is more of a playlist of the curator’s favourite tracks. And as playlists go, they don’t get much more eclectic than this, with tracks from big names like Radiohead, J Dilla and Andy Stott featuring alongside the much more obscure, such as Turkish folk musician Cengiz Özkan. As well as being an opportunity to observe what types of music makes Sakamoto tick, the sheer variety of this mixtape of sorts exposes the listener to songs that they would never have been exposed to before.
Link to Mix:
Personal highlights are below.