As much as one doesn’t want to impose anything upon Ryuichi Sakamoto’s 12, its sense of weight is a little inescapable. These compositions are so solemn and fragile; they appear to quite determinedly communicate themes of solitude, contemplation and futility. Sakamoto’s compositional pieces have long been celebrated for how effectively and economically they emote – and these twelve do the same but without much that is warm, hopeful or comforting. For any listener with knowledge of Sakamoto’s diagnosis – 12 may well be his final studio record – it can even feel intrusive, perhaps to the point of being actively rather difficult to listen to.
Listen to “20211201” below.