- Brand: Ryuichi Sakamoto
- Product Code: RyuichiSakamoto–Async
Regular edition in Double Black vinyl housed in gatefold sleeve
In the liner notes for “async,” his first solo album in eight years, Ryuichi Sakamoto lists some of the strategies he employed during the recording process: capturing elusive melodies at early-morning synthesizer sessions, compiling field recordings of rain and ruins, rearranging Bach chorales until they resembled fine mist.That may sound like the recipe for a new-age record, but Sakamoto isn’t inclined to take the easy-listening route to serenity. With “async,” he resists the prettiness that has characterized some of his best-known work, and comes out all the stronger for it.Shiro Takatani’s cover art — in which photos of garden pots and the insides of a piano are transformed into abstract horizontal stripes, like a Gerhard Richter painting gone digital — serves as an apt metaphor for the album itself. While Sakamoto’s previous solo outing, 2009’s “Out of Noise,” seemed torn between the worlds of classical music and electronica, the analog and synthetic, “async” erases the difference.Though it makes extensive use of conventional instruments, they are often heavily treated, and share their space with washes of digitized noise and ambient sound. Listen closely and the album’s seemingly tranquil surfaces teem with life.