I am an inherently joyful person, living in reminiscent of old school movie and music. I believe in kindness and human connection. I am an ordinary person who wants to look back on my deathbed and said to myself :
你这一生已经足够努力了; You have tried hard enough in this life;
Each journey has its original point which triggered sequences of all events
Two years ago, a random conversation brought up the name of Mr Sakamoto and his music. Since then, I embarked on an amazing and unique journey that seeks for genuine human connection.
Mr Sakamoto once said it’s a bit sad that, nowadays living in this stressful society, the young generation is reluctant to touch on the deep and heavy topics, but I want to send the message to Mr. Sakamoto that
there are still so many amazing talents in this world, fearlessly and passionately fulfilling their parts of making this world a better place!
I am a big fan of Mr Sakamoto's music since I was a kid. As a tribute, I wrote this artical and made this video two years ago for him.
Ryuichi Sakamoto: ASYNC&CODA
Written on 20/5/2020
We Lens has done quite a few interviews with Ryuichi Sakamoto which reflects multifaceted aspects of his life as a musician and a human. My initial impression on him, as the majority, was from the movie soundtracks. Back to my high school, I was tremendously into movies and music. From Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence to the last emperor until recent one I am quite into (the sheltering sky), those sounds, and images became part of deeply personal memories and flashback in those periods which was vague but vivid. In 2017, the new album Async was released after Mr Sakamoto’s recovery from the cancer. He did an interview entitled music for divided world with NHK. In the same year, his self-portrait-like documentary was put on the screen. I watched both the interview and the documentary, feeling very compelled to share a few thoughts.
About Async: Async is a conflicted and opposed concept towards synchronism: It’s quite common that we pursue harmony and rhythm in everything. Mr Sakamoto believes that it’s almost human nature that 99% of musicians tend to harmonize sounds and rhythms to become synchronism, which, is to, I guess, fit in 99% of audiences’ tastes. The percentage is not verified but Sakamoto may try to reveal the obsession of us towards synchronism in all aspects of life. The truth is influential musicians such as Mr Sakamoto himself or Joe Hisaishi are fearless to push the limit of music-making and tireless to explore unconventional approaches to compose music. They are openly embracing into implementation of technology into their music production but also maintain and value the uniqueness of each type of music. Mr Sakamoto said making music is like creating new language that doesn’t exit. Living in different cities, Mr Sakamoto was inspired by small, tiny things in the daily life. One technique he employed is to collect original and authentic sounds on the streets. The discovery is that every sound and noise are validly being there. To become a great musician with infinite inspiration, finding a way to connect the general folks and to break the barrier between reality and imagination is necessary. Musician’s job is tremendous stressful and enjoyable as well. As our routine is to sit in the office and work on computer, Mr Sakamoto’s daily schedule is walking on the streets to record various sounds and embed to his music.
About co-existence: The TV host in the interview pointed out that our life is filled in unlimited information in this Internet age. we often leaning on to individuals/groups that hold similar idea with us, and prone to neglect different voices. Our brain can automatically filter information and only keep what we want to hear or believe. Sometimes, it’s not our fault that our mindset is fixed in certain way as this is how we raised. Or it’s just another human nature that we develop our preference or thinking pattern. However, the truth about the world is too complicated and no one can see all through. Not because we are not start enough, we simple just don’t involve and participate in that. What we can do is not to make quick and rush conclusion, to do more research before taking our standing and do not judge others. We are all unique and respect diversity. It’s easier to say than done it. In less harmful case, we may dismiss and overlook which is fine we as we cannot associate with everyone, but scared part is when it escalates into bullies, arrogance, hatred, separatism and extremism which exists everywhere in this world, sadly. At least, music shows an example of co-exist in this divided world. Just like Mr Sakamoto said: isolated notes come together to become music; voices with different tempos co-exist in one composition.
About Coda:Mr Sakamoto said his favourite track is full moon in this album. I wouldn’t know how to touch heavy topic like this when I was younger, because I know nothing about life. Even now we all try to avoid talking about it although this is only thing no one could avoid. Mr Sakamoto won in the fight with cancer and the near-death experience may lead him to producing this music? In the full-moon: Death was interpreted as the following monologues: Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well, yet everything happens on a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply part of your being that you can't ever consider your life without it, perhaps four or five time more, perhaps not even that? how many more times will you watch the full moon rises? Perhaps twenty, and yet it all seems limitless." If you watch this on YouTube, people from all over the world translate this part into their own language (Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, French , Spanish, Arabic, almost any language you can think of etc.,) in the comment section. It’s like epic scene. It touched me so deeply as this kind of music brings all of us together no matter where we are from. Why do we all resonate to this? I guess death is the ultimate commonness to all of us and Mr Sakamoto creates universe connection through collective power of music. Thanks for Sakamoto’s great work which contributes to formulation of world citizens. My personal feeling to death is so overwhelmingly responsive to this interpretation. Instantly, my own memory of a certain afternoon pop into my heard. My friend and I made a pact in 2020 (Back that time, we don’t know 2020 will be the year like no one can image) that we will look at everything positively out of the worse. So death can’t be even worse, the way I look at is : We don’t know when we will die so it all seems limitless: this infinity does allows us to explore life meaning and purpose: either it is to make a basic living, purse life-time passion or it is to protect the people you love and care. We always hold expectation and hope on tomorrow because we would not pessimistically assume or predictably know which day will be the end day and tomorrow certainly is too closed to be that day. When it comes to certain point, you realise that life is equally tough on everyone whether you believe or not. The good thing about not knowing when death is coming is that we are all on the way to find the answer. I mean, if you know you are dying tomorrow, why bother to try so hard. While you are trying so hard, something good may happen. Simplicity as it is. But we all know it’s not limitless. The uncertainly of death renders every memory of we had become countable and precious. It really just happened during that specific period for a limited time. What does that tell us: Life is a one-way ticket journey, and we have no other options but to move forward. you won’t really know how your life journey will end until the final moment comes