Ryuichi Sakamoto
Async - Remodels


4.3
superb

Review

by Aaron W. STAFF
February 16th, 2018 | 36 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well.

Last April, Ryuichi Sakamoto put out what was a career-defining record with Async; it was a record that garnered praise for its blunt perspective on the concept of mortality and its creator struggling with the notion of his own potential demise. But most of all, Async was that album; the one you'd never forget: the fabled classic. Excuse me for how pretentious this will inevitably sound, but I wasn't entertained by the stark textures nor the melancholic themes; instead, I was in the midst of an experience, the type of life-changing encounter with an album that you can't shake no matter how long you go without listening to it. That's what Async was to me, and to see it receive the remix treatment was something I welcomed all too cautiously, lest I wanted to go right into Async - Remodels with the immediate expectation that I'd be listening to a bastardization of Sakamoto's music.

Yet when I look at the roster of the artists that signed on to put Sakamoto's fatalistic songs in a new perspective, there was the distinct possibility that Remodels would turn out to be a wonderful companion record, which it should be obviously viewed as. Casting aside the glaring omission of some of the more field recording-oriented pieces from the original record, the selections made are appropriate; Oneohtrix Point Never and Electric Youth's reworkings of "Andata" both introduce Remodels, and whether it be with Onoehtrix's faithful interpretation or the Yellow Magic Orchestra throwback of Electric Youth's version, these cuts both are encouraging, although incredibly jarring from the standpoint of someone who has grown accustomed to the Christian Fennesz-accompanied original. For a matter of fact, a few of Sakamoto's collaborators are present on Remodels, such as Fennesz with an adequate rendition of "Solari" and Alva Noto with a captivating version of "Disintegration."

Remodels at worst does indeed bastardize Sakamoto's intentions, as Arca did with "Async," but the willingness to deviate from the original composition – and adding lush vocalizations and beats in their place – is a prime component of what makes Remodels more than a simple throwaway remix album. "Async" originally was such a violent orchestral piece unique to its parent album, so with Arca's revision, even with the feeling that it's one of the weaker pieces of Remodels, it perfectly demonstrates the ability to deconstruct someone's else work and create something else out of what is left over. Motion Graphics' rendition of "Fullmoon" is one of the more fulfilled cuts of the record, both remaining similar in structure to the source material, but allowing the song to expand its scope and into the definitive version of the track. Haunting enough is the late Johann Johannsson's take on "Solari;" it is as beautiful as it is powerful, an unintentional elegy to one's self, especially to the composer whose life was cut much more shortly than any of us ever expected.

Even as the concept of Async is blurred within the murky depths of Remodels' songcraft destruction, the lingering sense of dread is now augmented with the emerging sensation of revival. Yves Tumor's "Zure" is a powerful performance of Sakamoto's barren soundscape, transforming the composition into an atmospheric build of rhythm and chants; if this doesn't signal a defiant revival on Sakamoto's behalf, what else could" And on Andy Stott's remodel of "Life, Life," the ominous percussion that leads the piece into a ethereal journey is astounding and nothing short of breathtaking. If Async was an album centered on the genesis of its creator's suffering and recovery, Remodels is the triumph over the odds put up against Sakamoto and his way of continuing to share his life's work with the world through the lens of his disciples and his contemporaries.




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Comments:Add a Comment 
Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

fanboying rn, i must not apologize...the alva noto collab is next and i can't wait



Life, Life (Andy Stott Remodel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se4Z8RHnADw

Disintegration (Alva Noto Remodel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sxZ9AwIPDa4

Zure (Yves Tumor Obsession Edit): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umgio5eXg7Y

Andata (Oneohtrix Point Never Rework): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0p647mDqT0

Dewinged
February 16th 2018


13105 Comments


That summary, for an old runner like myself, is utterly terrifying.

I shall jam this before my time comes.

Digging: Kaelan Mikla - Not Eftir Not

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

If Async puts you down, this ought to get you up for a quick minute

Papa Universe
February 16th 2018


18626 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Goodness.

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

Dewinged
February 16th 2018


13105 Comments


I will cherish that minute like it is the last one I've got left.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Yet another record (or three come Monday) to check out, Pops!



@Dewinged as intended by Sakamoto perhaps

brainmelter
February 16th 2018


6074 Comments


cool

Digging: Avantdale Bowling Club - Avantdale Bowling Club

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Emeritus
February 16th 2018


6676 Comments


“Yves Tumor Obsession's "Zure"”
- adding the possessive to “obsession” makes it sound like that’s part of Yves’ name when it isn’t. I’d say: Yves Tumor’s rendition of “Zure” or Yves Tumor’s ‘Obsession Edit’ of “Zure”

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Thanks for pointing that little flub out, Johnny



I'd imagine there would be some remodels here you'd be interested in.

butcherboy
Contributing Reviewer
February 16th 2018


9215 Comments


good week for you Frippy, two Sakamoto albums.. looking forward to the other write-up.. this is top-notch!

Digging: Big Joanie - Sistahs

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Two Sakamotos AND a new Taylor Deupree to boot



Best month of the year so far

Chortles
February 16th 2018


21308 Comments


nice one. that andy stott remodel is a beauty, need to hear the rest/probably the original for that matter.... :thinking:

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Srs thinks at work rn

Papa Universe
February 16th 2018


18626 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I am relatively conflicted on this, honestly. I like it, but I can't tell if I love it, but further spins should tell. Definitely not as great as Async itself.

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 16th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Yeah, I wasn't too keen on these songs being turned into bangers and whatnot, but it works somehow.

Pho3nix
February 17th 2018


560 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review, gotta check this out even if I never did return to 'async' that many times

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I'd say it's necessary for a different perspective on Async

Flugmorph
February 17th 2018


20070 Comments


that Richard Dawkins quote

Frippertronics
Staff Reviewer
February 17th 2018


18220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

It's a Paul Bowles quote



Sakamoto soundtracked the film adaptation of his novel "The Sheltering Sky" and Bowles is the one speaking on Async's "Fullmoon."

Flugmorph
February 17th 2018


20070 Comments


apparently im dumb



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