Boomkat Product Review:
Reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s seminal debut album, written in 1978 just as he embarked on a long and fruitful career, both solo and with YMO aka Japan’s answer to Kraftwerk.
In 1978 Sakamoto was a well versed session musician who had completed art school at the start of the decade. He would go on to become quite possibly Japan’s best known and most loved composer, penning all time classics with YMO and alongside the likes of David Sylvian, including his soundtrack for ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’, while his solo work on razor sharp grooves such as ‘Riot In Lagos’ have been hailed as foundational to hip hop and electro.
As far as debut releases go, ‘Thousand Knives Of’ could hardly be more classic. Taking cues from his interest in Chinese history, as well as his abundant collection of synths, and a will to create music that reflected his Japanese modernity, he forged this singular album of hugely diverse textures, rhythms and imaginary spaces.
From the opening vocoder recital of a poem by Mao Zedong, and its subsequent nods to Herbie Hancock’s worldly grooves, thru his use of synths to describe natural panoramas in ‘Island Of Woods’, to the exceedingly cute, Kraftwerkian proto-electro of ‘Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkleid’ and the funky finale of ‘End of Asia’ with its use of fanfare from ‘The East Is Red’, you can rest assured there’s no other album quite like it. 100% influential and all-time classic gear.