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I’ve got a problem with piano-based ambient records, primarily that there are far to many of them and they all sound very similar. That’s probably not a fair statement to make when reviewing the work of ‘visionary’ pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto but it’s partly true due to the very nature of ambient records and the incredibly subtle differences between them. Collaborat ...

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Ancient Future by Willits + Sakamoto
1 review. Write a review for us »
8/10 Li'l Biz Staff review, 25 July 2012

I’ve got a problem with piano-based ambient records, primarily that there are far to many of them and they all sound very similar. That’s probably not a fair statement to make when reviewing the work of ‘visionary’ pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto but it’s partly true due to the very nature of ambient records and the incredibly subtle differences between them.

Collaborating with Christopher Willits for a second time, Sakamoto has taken the route of attempting an unspoken narrative through music. In this case, the delicate manipulation of piano via electronics, loops, laptops and the usual field recordings, found sound and fuzzy static. Though this is another fine example of genre ambience I’m hard pushed to differentiate between Willits and Sakamoto’s expression of “restless energy”, “Introversion” and/or “cold disassociation”. It all pretty much sounds the same, however blissful it may be.

The press release tells me that ”the six tracks that make up Ancient Future are entirely instrumental - and yet, they speak about the very essence of what it means to be human”. The only conclusion that I can draw from that statement after listening to the record is that Willits and Sakamoto perceive life to be a numbing, kinda dull experience which I find a little disheartening.

Still, try not to be put off by my pondering. If you enjoy super melancholic piano themes backed by drifting guitars then you’re gonna be down with ‘Ancient Future’. Also, final track ‘Completion’ is actually really good in a ‘China’-era Vangelis sort of a way.


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