Seasoned music producer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been synonymous with quality production for some time now. As a member of his band – Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO) and along with his solo efforts; Sakamoto has had a stranglehold on pop culture for decades; owners of the Sega Dreamcast gaming console will have heard his iconic start-up music for the 00’s machine, and he has also been credited with helping to pioneer movements within the House, Synth-Pop and Hip-Hop genres.
With a musical career spanning 40 years, 20 solo albums, and a Grammy win and nomination for two out of his countless number of film soundtracks composed (The Last Emperor and The Revenant respectively), it’s unsurprising that when his recent ambient/electronic studio album ‘async’ was released in 2017 it was very well received.
Stark, contemplative and ethereal in places, the sonic soundscapes of ‘async’ have now been granted a new lease of life almost a year after its release with an album of remixes, reworks, remodels and edits ‘Async Remodels’.
Where ‘async’ was a carefully measured and slightly withdrawn project, the producers of tracks on ‘Async Remodels’ at times leave some of the more avant garde themes behind, for an album that’s slightly less sparse and perhaps more palatable to those that are unaccustomed to experimental/ambient music.
The choice of having each of the 11 tracks on ‘Async Remodels’; each remixed by a different producer, was an interesting choice by Ryuichi Sakamoto. It gives the album an anthology like nature, each individual track like an entry in separate journals about the same topic. Remixes from the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never, Andy Stott, Canadian synth-pop duo Electric Youth, Sakamoto’s collaborator for The Revenant film score – Alva Noto, as well as Kanye West and Frank Ocean collaborator – Arca, make up the track listing.
Although most of the producers of the remixes/remodels on the LP are not household names, a quick search into their previous work interestingly yields glowing CVs for many of the albums producers. This is a testament to Sakamoto’s ability to both find and create diamonds in the rough.
Overall, it could be argued that ‘Async Remodels’ is more accessible than ‘async’ for those listeners who are unaccustomed to more avant garde and experimental music. Something is definitely lost in translation from the original work ‘async’, although seemingly this is most of the point of this remix album.
Whilst ‘Async Remodels’ definitely breathes some new life into ‘async’ and is an enjoyable experience, any listener who has heard the original work can’t help but want to return to the original project afterwards.
‘Async Remodels’ is available now via Milan Records.
- Andata (Oneohtrix Point Never Rework)
2. Andata (Electric Youth Remix)
3. Disintegration (Alva Noto Remodel)
4. Async (Arca Remix)
5. Fullmoon (Motion Graphics Remix)
6. Solari (Fennesz Remix)
7. Solari (Jóhann Jóhannsson Rework)
8. ZURE (Yves Tumor Obsession Edit)
9. Fullmoon (S U R V I V E Version)
10. ZURE (Cornelius Remix)
11. Life, Life (Andy Stott Remodel)