Ryuichi Sakamoto Obituary, Death – Ryuichi Sakamoto, a groundbreaking composer, and producer who was one of the first musicians to introduce electronic production into popular songcraft, passed away at the age of 71. Sakamoto was one of the first musicians to use electronic production in popular songcraft.
According to a statement that was posted on Sakamoto’s website on Sunday, the musician passed away on March 28 after battling cancer for a number of years. The statement began with the following: “We would like to share one of Sakamoto’s favorite statements.” “‘Ars longa, vita brevis,’ which translates as “Art is long, life is brief.”
The Japanese composer had a career that spanned an exceptionally wide variety of genres and subgenres, including stints as a synth-pop idol, the composer of both grand and intimate film scores, and a collaborator with artists such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Bernardo Bertolucci. His work can be heard in a variety of film and television productions.
He was a pioneer of electronic pop music, both as a member of the enormously influential band Yellow Magic Orchestra from Japan and as a solo artist, producing songs that impacted early hip-hop and techno. He was known as the “grandfather of electronic pop music.” Sakamoto was born on January 17, 1952, and he had a culturally rich childhood thanks to his father, who was an editor for postwar Japanese novelists such as Kenzaburo Oe and Yukio Mishima.
Sakamoto was born on January 17. When he was six years old, he started taking piano lessons, and a few years later, he began writing his own music. As a young adult, he developed a passion for the compositions of Claude Debussy, a musician, and composer whose work was influenced by the aesthetics of Asian musical traditions, notably those of Japan.
According to what Sakamoto said in an interview with Weekend Edition in 1988, “I think my music is based on a very Western system, because there’s a beat, there’s a melody, there’s harmony. So this is Western music. But you know, some feeling, some atmosphere, or sense of sound is a little bit Asian, maybe 25, 30 percent.”
When Sakamoto finally made it to university to study composition, his life in music was already moving in a number of different directions concurrently. While he was in school, he was immersing himself in challenging pieces by post-World War II pioneers of European modernism such as Stockhausen, Ligeti, Xenakis, and Boulez.
In his leisure time, though, he was also playing Okinawan folk music and free jazz, and he was searching record stores for Kraftwerk. 1978 saw the formation of the band Yellow Magic Orchestra, which he co-founded along with multi-instrumentalist Haruomi Hosono and drummer Yukihiro Takahashi (YMO). Sakamoto was responsible for the keyboards, and all three band members contributed vocals.