Remembering Ryuichi Sakamoto

Sad news. Japanese composer and electronic pioneer passed away today of cancer. I met Ryuichi under unique circumstances. I was working at the Knitting Factory when my team crafted a unique festival idea to spotlight the soundtracks behind our favorite films. My dual passion for film & music being fulfilled, we planned a multi day festival and a documentary. Lugging around my camera equipment and light gear, I set off to interview a musician I wasn’t that familiar with. He invited me into his music studio which had an immediate brightness and warm feeling imbuing from it. I was surrounded floor to ceiling of stacks of cd’s and records. His studio validated my obsessive collection of music which was overflowing from every room in my parent’s house. I felt at ease with another musicphile. Immediately I became overwhelmed with his love and study of music. We chatted for a long time after the interview ended off camera with no rush to kick this naive kid out of his home.

A few weeks later we booked Ryuichi to play on our main stage. I was surprised that it sold out faster than our other acts. Simply with his piano, he had built such an emotional tension, that by halfway into his set the room began to cry. It was the first time I had ever witnessed such a reaction from a crowd, and by the end of it, I was overcome as well.

Goodbye Ryuichi. Thank you for all the amazing music you created and making me realize there is so much more out there in the world. Thank you for your advice and kind words during a formidable time in my career.

“The world is full of sounds. We just don’t usually hear them as music.”
– Ryuichi Sakamoto