Created for Junya Watanabe’s spring/summer 2022 collection, Ryuichi Sakamoto has shared his new arrangement of Yellow Magic Orchestra’s ‘Tong Poo,’ making it the composer’s second rework of the 1978 composition after it was played on solo piano for 1999’s BTTB.
The new rework, ‘Tong Poo for Junya Watanabe’, is set to receive a limited physical release of just 500 copies on 12″ vinyl, which will feature two new arrangements of the song. Make sure you take a listen to the track and watch the fashion show below. Earlier in the year, Sakamoto also shared his soundtrack to Minamata, a film by the American filmmaker Andrew Levitas, which focuses on the war photographer W. Eugene Smith.
As if that wasn’t enough, Sakamoto also unveiled his soundtrack for the Netflix original movie Beckett, director Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s film about an American tourist in Greece, who finds himself the target of a political assassination. All of this comes after the musician was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in a decade back in January.
‘Tong Poo’ isn’t the first BTTB track Sakamoto has released this year. Back in October, he released a live version of his 1999 track ‘Aqua’. The updated recording was taken from his 2020 show Playing Piano For The Isolated, which was released on the Japanese composer’s YouTube channel during the Covid-19 pandemic. It was released as part of Coldcut’s @0 compilation, a collection of ambient works by the likes of Suzanne Ciani, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Helena Hauff and lots more.
These updated tracks seem to reflect the way Sakamoto’s work has changed and evolved as he’s grown older. In an insightful interview conducted in 2017, he spoke of his motivations behind the slower more ambient arrangements he’s released in recent years.
“Why do I want to play much slower than before? Because I wanted to hear the resonance,” he began. “I want to have less notes and more spaces. Spaces, not silence. Space is resonant, is still ringing. I want to enjoy that resonance, to hear it growing, then the next sound, and the next note or harmony can come. That’s exactly what I want.”