Ryuichi Sakamoto, A Godfather Of Electronic Pop, Has Died

Ryuichi Sakamoto, A Godfather Of Electronic Pop, Has Died
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Ryuichi Sakamoto was photographed in Paris in 1996 . Thomas Cox/AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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Thomas Cox/AFP via Getty Images

Pioneering composer and producer Ryuichi Sakamoto, one of the first musicians to incorporate electronic production into popular songs, has died at the age of 71.

After a year-long battle with cancer, Sakamoto died in 2011. He died on March 28, according to a message posted on his website on Sunday. "We'd like to share one of Sakamoto's favorite quotes," the statement said. "Ars Longa, Vita Privis". Wisdom is short-lived.

The Japanese composer had an extensive career. he was in turn a pop idol, composing both dramatic instrumentals and mellow tracks, and collaborated with artists such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Bernardo Bertolucci. .

As a member of the highly influential Japanese group Yellow Magic Orchestra and as a solo artist, he created songs that influenced early hip hop and techno, becoming the grandfather of electronic pop.

Born on January 17, 1952, Sakamoto had a culturally rich childhood. After the war, his father edited Japanese novels such as those by Kenzaburo Oi and Yukio Mishima. At the age of six, he began taking piano lessons and later began writing his own music. As a teenager, inspired by the beauty of Asian, including Japanese music, he himself fell in love with the works of composer Claude Debussy.

Sakamoto As he told Weekend Edition in 1988, "I think my music is very Western because there's rhythm and melody and harmony." So it's western music. But you know, the feel or the vibe or the tone of voice is a little bit Asian, maybe 25, 30 percent.

While Sakamoto entered college to study composition, his musical career was taking several paths at once. At school he immersed himself in such giants of post-war European modernism as Stockhausen, Leggety, Xenakis and Boulez. But he also played traditional Okinawan music. And free jazz in spare time and cleaning record stores for Kraftwerk.

Sakamoto played keyboards and sang for all three members.

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