The driving force behind “Neo Geo” — a cutting-edge fusion combining Asian and Western classical music with other global textures and rhythms — pioneering electronic composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was among the most innovative artists to emerge during the 1980s. Born January 17, 1952, in Tokyo, he took up piano at the age of three, and regularly performed in jazz bands while in high school. Sakamoto’s catholic musical tastes exposed him to everyone from the Beatles to Beethoven and John Cage, and he was also heavily influenced by avant-garde filmmaking; he went on to study electronic music at Tokyo’s University of Art, and after graduating formed the techno-pop trio Yellow Magic Orchestra. Informed by the robotic iconography of Kraftwerk, the YMO became massive stars in their native Japan; their 1980 single “Computer Game” even reached the Top 20 in Britain.
While still in the Yellow Magic Orchestra, Sakamoto also issued his first solo effort, 1978’s Thousand Knives Of; two years… read more