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Playing the Piano / Out of Noise

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In 2009, Universal International released Ryuichi Sakamoto's Playing the Piano, a collection of solo piano pieces he calls "self-covers"; that is, a newly recorded collection of his own compositons and themes performed solo. The set contains 12 selections. They are mostly themes from the films The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and The Sheltering Sky, with cues from others including "Bolerish," from Brian DePalma's 2002 film Femme Fatale. For the most part, it is a spare and lovely beauty of an album, with few surpises save for the elegance that Sakamoto performs these indelible pieces with. In 2010, Decca Records in the U.S. re-relased this album as a deluxe ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
In 2009, Universal International released Ryuichi Sakamoto's Playing the Piano, a collection of solo piano pieces he calls "self-covers"; that is, a newly recorded collection of his own compositons and themes performed solo. The set contains 12 selections. They are mostly themes from the films The Last Emperor, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, and The Sheltering Sky, with cues from others including "Bolerish," from Brian DePalma's 2002 film Femme Fatale. For the most part, it is a spare and lovely beauty of an album, with few surpises save for the elegance that Sakamoto performs these indelible pieces with. In 2010, Decca Records in the U.S. re-relased this album as a deluxe edition with a new one entitled Out of Noise, recorded during 2009. It, too, contains a dozen selections, all but one composed and recorded the year of release. This disc is the real surpise in the specially packaged and priced set. It concerns itself where music fades and enters into noise, and the no man's land where noise sorts itself out into a system recognized as music. Unlike Playing the Piano, Out of Noise is a more challenging, yet more compelling listen. While it begins with the poetic, atmospheric solo piano piece "Hibari," as a coda to Disc 1, it quickly launches into "Hwit" and "Still Life," both recorded with the U.K.-based viol ensemble Fretwork. The ambient "In the Red," with field-recorded voice samples, features guitarist Christian Fennesz. In 2008, Sakamoto participated in the Cape Farewell Disko Bay Expedition to study and observe climate change; there he visited Greenland's fastest moving glacier. Three of the pieces here -- "Disko," "Ice," and "Glacier" -- reflect the place where Sakamoto claims he left part of his soul. In them, the sounds of the glaicer and the surrounding landscape were recorded, then treated in the studio and added to by other musicians, including guitarist Keigo Oyamada, vocalist Karen H. Filskov, and Skúlli Sverrisson, who plays dobro on the final one of these. "To Standford" is a solo jazz piano piece, or rather has inside its grain, the beauty and ternderness of great jazz pianists from Bill Evans to Errol Garner to Kenny Drew. Ultimately, it's Out of Noise that makes the entire package worth buying for the first time, or purchasing Playing the Piano again. Despite revealing already known dimensions of Sakamoto's musical persona, it also uncovers new ones.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/28/2010
  • Label: Decca
  • UPC: 602527466323
  • Catalog Number: 001466272
  • Sales rank: 25,901

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Amore (5:09)
  2. 2 Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (4:42)
  3. 3 A Flower is not a Flower (6:34)
  4. 4 The Sheltering Sky (4:54)
  5. 5 Tamago 2004 (2:49)
  6. 6 The Last Emperor (6:42)
  7. 7 Tibetan Dance (4:22)
  8. 8 Thousand Knives (5:22)
  9. 9 Riot In Lagos (4:35)
  10. 10 Reversing (3:30)
  11. 11 Mizu No Naka No Bagatelle (3:45)
  12. 12 Bolerish (5:09)
Disc 2
  1. 1 Hibari (9:02)
  2. 2 Hwit (6:29)
  3. 3 Still Life (4:44)
  4. 4 In the Red (5:32)
  5. 5 Tama (4:01)
  6. 6 Nostalgia (3:38)
  7. 7 Firewater (4:10)
  8. 8 Disko (3:37)
  9. 9 Ice (3:34)
  10. 10 Glacier (9:44)
  11. 11 To Stanford (3:38)
  12. 12 Composition (5:30)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Ryuichi Sakamoto Primary Artist, Piano, Keyboards, electronics
Skúli Sverrisson Dobro
Tamami Touno Viol, Sho
Christian Fennesz Guitar
Keigo Oyamada Guitar
Dana Leong Trombone, Cello
Rob Moose Violin
Ren Takada Pedal Steel Guitar
Hirotaka "Shimmy" Shimizu Guitar
Karen H. Filskov Vocals
Technical Credits
Fernando Aponte Engineer, Mastering, Engineering
Denis Blackham Mastering
Jay Cooper Legal Counsel
Ted Jensen Mastering
Ryuichi Sakamoto Composer, Producer, Engineer, Liner Notes, Mastering
Skúli Sverrisson Composer
Yoshifumi Iio Engineer
Hideki Nakajima Art Direction
Diego Cortez Liner Notes
Jake Jackson Engineer
Rafaela Hernández Label Consultant
Tamami Touno Composer
Toyoaki Mishima Engineer
Keigo Oyamada Composer
Rob Moose Composer
Ren Takada Composer, Engineer
Mitsuru Shibamoto Engineer
Tina Pelikan Label Consultant
Nick Parker Engineer
Takuo Morikawa Legal Advisor
John Schaefer Liner Notes
Doreen D'Agostino Public Relations
Sarah Humphries Label Consultant
Ryo Nukui Engineer
James Troniainen Label Consultant
Kotringo Composer
Hiyomin Kang Engineer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Gorgeous - Highly Accomplished

    Sakamoto continues to impress with the sheer variety of musical genres he's worked in and his sophisticated/elevated sense of style and songwriting. Here he plays some of his favorite songs on invigorated piano-only versions (like from soundtracks he did for The Last Emperor and Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence movies) and records subtle, poignant instrumental music mixing in underwater sounds from his trip to the Arctic Sea in "Out of Noise". Fans of his work on "BTTB" and with Alva Noto will love both discs. Fans of instrumental ambient music in general have got to check out "Playing the Piano/Out of Noise", a generous contribution.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews