Ryuichi Sakamoto


"Bricolage," a French word meaning to assemble something from available materials, is such a perfect term for the art of the remix that it's surprising no one has ever used it before. It's less surprising that Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose work has always had a cool Continental flair despite the artist's Japanese roots, would choose such an elegant term for his swish remix collection. Focusing on reworks of material from 2005's back-to-the-roots electro-pop experiment Chasm, Bricolages features a cross-cultural and cross-generational batch of remixers including Cornelius, whose playful sense of pastiche is to current hipster Japanese pop what Sakamoto's Yellow Magic Orchestra was a quarter-century before; his take on the spoken word cut-up War & Peace is considerably lighter and groovier than Aoki Takamasa's tense, austere version. Former Japan drummer Steve Jansen, whose collaboration with Sakamoto goes back to the early '80s, contributes the skittering Break With, bridging the gap between new wave disco and contemporary IDM. However, the most intriguing reworking is Rob Da Bank and Mr. Dan's version of Word, which transmutes the song into a spookily atmospheric, dubwise dance groove that reveals an entirely new aspect. Remix albums are only as good as their mixers, but Sakamoto has chosen a solid team that makes Bricolages his most successful remix project.

July 4, 2006
Ryuichi Sakamoto