Vrioon album cover

Ryuichi Sakamoto , Alva Noto


After spending much of the 1990s trying to become established in western culture, Sakamoto finally pivoted away from his mainstream aspirations and set his intentions back on his avant-garde roots. That he would become enamored with the new generation of minimal electronic laptop musicians made sense, since Sakamoto himself had inspired them with his early ‘80s explorations. His longest running collaboration began at the turn of the century with German producer Carsten Nicolai, when the latter was commissioned to rework a Sakamoto piece. Pleased with the results, Sakamoto began sending files of piano music over, which the clicks’n’cuts pioneer transformed into elegant minimal meditations. The end result was 2002’s Vrioon, a mix of delicate hoarfrost melodies set against subterranean bass pulses and icy crackle. Their contemplative dialogue would continue for the next two decades.

Andy Beta

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