Ryuichi Sakamoto’s management team has shared his “final playlist”, curated by the late composer for his own funeral.
Shared yesterday via Spotify, the 33-track playlist titled ‘Funeral’, features music from Debussy, Bach, Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota — beginning with a piece from Sakamoto’s regular collaborator Alva Noto, and ending with Laurel Halo’s ‘Breath’.
His team shared the playlist, writing on social media: “We would like to share the playlist that Ryuichi had been privately compiling to be played at his own funeral to accompany his passing, He truly was with music until the very end.”
The seminal Japanese musician, who found global recognition for both his work as part of Yellow Magic Orchestra and his solo compositions, passed away following a lengthy battle with cancer on March 28. He was 71-years-old.
His individual compositions include 1980 track ‘Riot in Lagos’ from album ‘B-2 Unit’, which is widely regarded as a pioneering piece in the development of electro and hip hop instrumentals.
For his work on film scores such as Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983), The Last Emperor (1987) and and The Revenant (2015), Sakamoto was awarded with a slew of film and music’s top honours — including an Oscar, two Golden Globes, a BAFTA and a GRAMMY.
Outside of music, Sakamoto’s anti-nuclear stance had earned him reverence from his artistic peers and beyond — a position he had adopted following the 2011 Fukushima Earthquake, a subject that was at the heart of the 2014 documentary on his life Coda.
The composer had first been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in 2014, but entered into remission a year later. In 2021 he announced to fans via his website that despite recovering from the disease, he had been diagnosed with rectal cancer, writing: “From now on, I will be living alongside cancer. But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.”
Representatives for Sakamoto announced his death on April 2 2023. His team wrote: “He lived with music until the very end. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to his fans and all those who have supported his activities, as well as the medical professionals in Japan and the U.S. who did everything in their power to cure him.”
Artists, fans and public figures from across the musical spectrum paid tribute to the composer; Oentrix Point Never took to twitter to write: “thank you @ryuichisakamoto for more than I could ever explain in words, rip.”
While Massive Attack wrote: “An honour to share Meltdown 08 with you maestro. A genius, & a gentleman.”
You can listen to Ryuichi Sakamoto’s final playlist below.
Megan Townsend is Mixmag’s Deputy Editor, follow her on Twitter
Written by: Tim Hopkins