• Type: Music
  • By: Riyuiti Sakamoto
  • Age Category: Adults
  • Genre: Jazz/Blues/Soul
  • Recommended by: Mark N.
  • ISBN/UPC: 731383699320
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Whatever it is (jazz? classical? both?)--this is perfect mood music

I was completely unfamiliar with Ryiuchi Sakamoto’s BTTB before it passed through my department at the library.  It was only when we tried to determine its genre (since it’s difficult music to classify) that I discovered how excellent it is.
After doing a little research, I learned that Sakamoto is known primarily as an electronic music composer/performer (though in fairness he has explored many different avenues in his long career). BTTB, which is an acronym for “back to the basics,” was originally issued in 2000 and is a step back from his customary electronic music. BTTB is primarily solo piano pieces that straddle the line between classical and jazz. At times, Sakamoto’s playing reminds me of Erik Satie (think Gymnopedies) and at other times Bill Evans (particularly his gentle, emotive playing on Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue). 
The first piece on the album, “Opus,” evokes—at least in my mind—a quiet early morning with the sun filtering through a window. With the exception of a few slightly more far-out experimental pieces like “Do Bacteria Sleep” and “Sonata,” BTTB could be perfect mood music for a dinner party or a rainy day spent inside in quiet contemplation.