New Album from Ryuichi Sakamoto to Get Posthumous Release

New Album from Ryuichi Sakamoto to Get Posthumous Release

New Album from Ryuichi Sakamoto to Get Posthumous Release

It’s been over a year since the passing of Ryuichi Sakamoto, but new music from the legendary composer is on the way. Today, his estate and Milan Records have announced a posthumous album titled Opus (due on August 9th), and released the lead single, a meditative new rendition of “Tong Poo.”

Taken from a “final, private piano concert” Sakamoto performed in 2022 at his NHK 509 Studio in Tokyo, Opus features reimaginings of songs from throughout his career, including film scores, Yellow Magic Orchestra hits, and more. Due to his ailing health, the performance was completed across multiple sessions, which were all filmed by Sakamoto’s son Neo Sora; the resulting concert film/documentary will premiere on June 30th on The Criterion Channel with the title RYUICHI SAKAMOTO | OPUS.

In a statement written before his death, Sakamoto explained that Opus was “conceived as a way to record my performances — while I was still able to perform — in a way that is worth preserving for the future.”

Reflecting on the songs’ newfound meaning in the face of his limited mortality, Sakamoto reflected, “In some sense, while thinking of this as my last opportunity to perform, I also felt that I was able to break new ground. Simply playing a few songs a day with a lot of concentration was all I could muster at this point in my life. Perhaps due to the exertion, I felt utterly hollow afterwards, and my condition worsened for about a month. Even so, I feel relieved that I was able to record before my death — a performance that I was satisfied with.”

The single, “Tong Poo,” reflects Sakamoto’s intentions — and brilliance as a composer — perfectly. Reframing the 1978 Yellow Magic Orchestra classic as a pondering piano ballad, he emphasizes the intricate beauty of the song’s harmony, while allowing the sublime simplicity of its melody shine. Stream the single below.

For more on Sakamoto, revisit his final playlist, which he curated for his own funeral.

Opus Artwork:

Ryuichi Sakamoto posthumous album Opus artwork single Tong Poo stream listen film watch

Opus Tracklist:
01. Lack of Love
02. BB
03. Andata
04. Solitude
05. for Jóhann
06. Aubade 2020
07. Ichimei – small happiness
08. Mizu no Naka no Bagatelle
09. Bibo no Aozora
10. Aqua
11. Tong Poo
12. The Wuthering Heights
13. 20220302 – sarabande
14. The Sheltering Sky
15. 20180219 (w/prepared piano)
16. The Last Emperor
17. Trioon
18. Happy End
19. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
20. Opus – ending

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