Thousand Knives

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Thousand Knives
Studio album by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Released October 25, 1978 (1978-10-25)
Recorded 10 April~27 July 1978
Columbia Studios 1, 2 & 4
Genre Jazz fusion
Contemporary Classical
Length 44:57
Label Nippon Columbia
Producer Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto chronology
Thousand Knives
B-2 Unit

Thousand Knives (千のナイフ Sen no Naifu?) (also known as Thousand Knives of Ryuichi Sakamoto) is Ryuichi Sakamoto's first solo album. The album is named after Henri Michaux's description of the feel of using mescaline in Misérable Miracle. It was recorded in about 500 hours, and Sakamoto would spend whole days without sleeping working on it.


This album features performances by guitarist Kazumi Watanabe (two songs from this album were included in the Tokyo Joe compilation) and Yellow Magic Orchestra members (the production techniques that Sakamoto learned while making this album would be later used in YMO recordings). The title track begins with a vocoded Sakamoto reading a poem written during Mao Zedong's visit to a well in the Jinggang Mountains in 1965; the song is performed in a reggae hymn style, inspired by Herbie Hancock's Speak Like a Child album; the song was later performed by YMO in their shows from 1978 to 1980 and was re-recorded for the BGM album; Sakamoto performed a classical trio version during live shows for the 1996 album and recorded a piano duo version for the /05 album. "Plastic Bamboo" was performed in the earlier YMO shows, however, it was never re-recorded, and the only YMO recording of it is on the live album Live At Kinokuni-ya Hall 1978. "The End of Asia" has the same melody as Haruomi Hosono's "Worry Beads" from the Paraiso (Sakamoto has claimed that he didn't do it on purpose) and the coda uses the melody of the Chinese national anthem "The East is Red"; the song was performed by YMO until 1980, and its first release as a YMO song was on the live album Public Pressure, a drastically different studio version was included on the X∞Multiplies album.

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto

No. Title Length
1. "Thousand Knives (千のナイフ Sen no Naifu?)"   9:34
2. "Island of Woods"   9:50
3. "Grasshoppers"   5:16
4. "Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied (新日本電子的民謡 Shin Nihon Denshiteki Min'yō?)"   8:05
5. "Plastic Bamboo"   6:31
6. "The End of Asia"   6:21


External links[edit]