Ryuichi Sakamoto was born on January 17th in 1952. He is a composer, pianist and actor. His musical style varies from classic to pop music. He started his career while still studying at the university of arts in the early 70's as a session musician, producer and arranger. In 1978 he released his debut album "Thousand Knives" besides working with his band Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO). His debut album existed of acoustic piano music with some electronic sounds added.

Sakamoto in 1980

In 1980 Sakamoto created a pop album exploring experimental electronic music with typical Asian influences. It follows the style he also explored at that time with YMO. "B-2 Unit" has proven to be very much ahead of its time and extremely influential in the development of electronic music.

Riot In Lagos - single cover

Sampling was in it's early stage with the Fairlight CMI in 8-bits. For the synth and drum parts he used a Roland MC 8. The album was recorded in London and Tokyo with the assistance of dub master Dennis Bovell (on E-3A), Steve Nye (Penguin Cafe Orchestra and producer), Andy Partridge (XTC) and guitarist Kenji Omura. It included "Riot In Lagos" which was significant in the development of electro and hip hop music and was released as a single. During this time he also released some exclusive single releases: War Head and Front Line. The album cover was created in the style of Kazimir Malevich which fits perfectly with the music.

Warhead - single cover

This musical style was continued on YMO's next 2 albums from 1981: Technodelic (reviewed on this blog as well) and BGM. With focus on sounds and tones rather than traditional song structures. There are no weak tracks on "B-2 Unit" and it's mainly instrumental. He achieved worldwide fame with his acting and soundtrack for the movie "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" in 1983.

Original album cover

B-2 Unit (1980)
Differencia / Thatness And Thereness / Participation Mystique / E-3A / Iconic Storage / Riot In Lagos / Not The 6 O'Clock News / The End Of Europe

Riot in Lagos / Warhead
Warhead / Lexington Queen
Front Line / Happy End

Warhead / Lexington Queen

Iconic Storage