Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence: Soundtrack from the Original Motion Picture is a soundtrack album for the 1983 film. All compositions on the album are by Sakamoto except "23rd Psalm", which is a traditional piece, and both "Ride, Ride, Ride" tracks, by Stephen McCurdy. In addition, David Sylvian contributed lyrics and vocals on "Forbidden Colours".
Taboo or Gohatto (御法度, released in several English-speaking territories under its Japanese title) is a 1999 Japanese film directed by Nagisa Oshima. Original score by Ryuichi Sakamoto.
Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the pioneering figures of Japanese electronic music, demonstrates his versatility on this change-of-pace album. Released in 2004, 04 is dominated by Sakamoto's prowess on the acoustic piano, and features excerpts from several of his scores for motion pictures (including his music for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence), television commercials (such as a campaign for Louis Vuitton), and video games.
Sakamoto's all-star blend of Western and Eastern music styles is a triumphant success for the composer, and a consistently good listen. On the title track he takes a traditional Japanese folk song and blends it into a funk groove provided by Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell, and Sly Dunbar. Unlike Byrne and Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, this blend of cultures is coming from the opposing angle and stays truer to the source material. But that track is only one of Sakamoto's approaches, and on several other tracks he joins with Laswell to create a crisp, techno-cultural hybrid that sounds like nothing except like pure Sakamoto. On "Risky," a subdued Iggy Pop lends vocals and lyrics, and doesn't come across as an interloper. And on "Okinawa Song," Sakamoto seamlessly integrates the southern island culture into his grand scheme.
A collaboration between two of the best-known names in ambient music, the Japanese musician Ryuchi Sakamoto and the Austrian electronica artist Christian Fennesz, CENDRE is a hushed delight from start to finish, containing stately, minimalist pieces such as "Aware," "Kuni," and "Amorph." Fennesz provides the weightless electronic backdrop, into which Sakamoto drops precise chords that ripple the aural surface like smooth pebbles dropped into a pool.
If eclectic is your bag, then Heartbeat might be your thing. Like Hector Zazou, Ryuichi Sakamoto employs a realm of many styles on this upbeat collection. Songs performed in Japanese, Russian, French, and English (by friends Youssou N'Dour, David Sylvian, and Deee-Lite's DJ Towa Towa and Super DJ Dmitri) top an already brimming album that is everything its predecessor, Beauty, wasn't. Two completely different versions of the title track add arty spice. "Triste" is a wonderful, lazy-afternoon stroll in Paris jazz; "Lulu" follows suit. Is there no end to this Sakamoto's talent? He does jazz, rap, and chucks in a couple of solo piano pieces reminiscent of his soundtrack work. "Songlines" came about via his score for Pedro Almodovar's High Heels. "Boram Gal" and "High Tide" – with guests Youssou N'Dour and Arto Lindsay, respectively – are both delicate and swathed in summer.
Collection includes: Casa (2001); Live In Tokyo (2001) and A Day in New York (2003).