Playing the Piano

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Playing the Piano
RSakamoto Playing.jpg
Studio album by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Released 23 September 2009 (Japan)
28 September 2010 (North America)
Genre Solo Acoustic
Label KAB America Inc (Japan), Decca Label Group (North America)
Producer Ryuichi Sakamoto
Ryuichi Sakamoto chronology
Out of Noise
(2009)
Playing the Piano
(2009)
Summvs
(2011)

Playing the Piano is a concept album by Ryuichi Sakamoto which was first released in Japan in 2009. The album is completely instrumental and features Sakamoto covering his earlier work, such as the soundtracks to Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence and The Last Emperor, and also pop songs such as "Thousand Knives," by rearranging them to be played on a single piano. Sakamoto himself refers to the album as a "Self covers" album.[1] In North America it was released as a deluxe double album along with the experimental album Out of Noise on 28 September 2010.[2] Sakamoto promoted the album in North America with an 11-date tour in October and November 2010.[3]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[4]
PopMatters 8/10 stars[5]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5[6]

Allmusic reviewer Thom Jurek states "For the most part, it is a spare and lovely beauty of an album, with few surpises save for the elegance that Sakamoto performs these indelible pieces with".[4] PopMatters John Garrett noted "An important selling point for Playing the Piano is how Ryuichi Sakamoto takes the opportunity to “cover himself”, so to speak. His soundtrack work is up for grabs as well as a fantastic pre-Yellow Magic Orchestra composition called “Thousand Knives”. The advantage of this is that Sakamoto boils these pieces down to their skeletal form, presenting them to the listener in a way that’s probably close to how he was writing them all these years ago".[5] Sputnikmusic stated "This album is a testament to the fact that a truly wonderful song needs nothing else to make it special. Although not every song shines, every one of them has something unique about it. That makes this album grand. Only one piano creates true emotion, and unique songs".[6]

Track listing[edit]

All compositions by Ryuichi Sakamoto

  1. "Amore" – 5:07
  2. "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" – 4:41
  3. "A Flower Is Not A Flower" – 6:34
  4. "The Sheltering Sky" – 4:54
  5. "Tamago 2004" – 2:50
  6. "The Last Emperor" – 6:43
  7. "Tibetan Dance" – 4:23
  8. "Thousand Knives" – 5:22
  9. "Riot in Lagos" – 4:35
  10. "Reversing." – 3:31
  11. "Mizu no Naka no Bagatelle" – 3:46
  12. "Bolerish" – 5:09

Personnel[edit]

  • Ryuichi Sakamoto - piano

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ryuichi Sakamoto – Playing the Piano / Out of Noise – Decca – Audiophile Audition. Audaud.com (2010-11-23). Retrieved on 2010-12-03.
  2. ^ A Ryuichi Sakamoto Web Site : What's New. siteSakamoto (2010-09-28). Retrieved on 2010-12-03.
  3. ^ A Ryuichi Sakamoto Web Site : What's New. siteSakamoto (2010-10-17). Retrieved on 2010-12-03.
  4. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. Playing the Piano / Out of Noise – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 24 June 2015.
  5. ^ a b Garrett, J., PopMatters Review, 27 September 2010
  6. ^ a b Sputnikmusic Review, 24 July 2014