Ryuichi Sakamoto: async AT THE PARK AVENUE ARMORY
In April 2017 Japanese composer, pianist and music producer Ryuichi Sakamoto made a guest appearance for two evenings in the Veteran’s Room, an intimate, 200-seater hall at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Stephen Nomura Schible recorded this concert with his camera. His film shows the award-winning film composer, whose unusual soundtracks have left their mark on dramas such as The Last Emperor and The Revenant, inventing his spontaneous ‘asynchronous’ music. We see him in action with various electronic instruments, a grand piano without a lid, a guitar and a glass panel. The resulting chords sound like a cosmic, angelic chorale. In addition, a huge screen mounted on the ceiling of the room above the grand piano translates the melancholic, contemplative sounds that float into the air into black-and-white images, engendering the kind of free-fall associations reminiscent of early avant-garde film. Sakamoto’s New York concert was interpreted by critics as an homage to life itself. After his own battle with cancer, the composer seems to be asking with his dreamlike music what it means to defy death.
Stephen Nomura Schible