Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 362
Sun, Jan 12, 2013

“Fatalism [Ryuichi Sakamoto & Yukihiro Takahashi Remix]”
Massive Attack


Being in a Massive Attack mindset, I have just discovered this wildly other-worldly remix of Massive Attack’s “Fatalism” by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Yukihiro Takahashi. Unbeknownst to some, Ryuichi is an electronic music innovator who first found acclaim in 1978 leading The Yellow Magic Orchestra. Since then Sakamoto has found success acting, composing film soundtrack and becoming a celebrated remixer as you can hear on Massive Attack’s b-side of “Fatalism.”

Ryuichi discussed his impulsive music process with Sound on Sound Magazine when he said, “In most of my cases it comes after the music is finished. When I write music I get a mood or an emotion or a feeling. I write and music leads me to some destination. So I don’t know where I’m going until after I’ve finished the music. It’s a very unpredictable process. Music has its own language and grammar. When I’m writing I feel like I’m riding a wave or something. I’m just surfing it to see where I end up.”

Sakamoto has always been one key stroke ahead with his innovative electronic music stylings and his remix of Massive Attack’s “Fatalism” is no different. With Yukihiro Takahashi as his partner behind the decks, Ryuichi colors “Fatalism” with his trademark tender keyboard mixes with sinister cut up back beats that resonates evoking a post modern rhythmic artistry that’s pure Sakamoto. Ryuichi described his musical philosophy while creating music when he said, “I believe that music can be very powerful. As an artist I’ve always been afraid of that aspect of music, and yet on the other hand it’s also the beauty and attraction of music. So I have to be careful about achieving a good balance. I cannot drop the dangerous side of music, but I also have to get the right balance when I use it. Discord is very powerful, and I hope it will not lead people in the wrong direction. I want my music to be symbolic, metaphoric, without it having a straightforward message.

You can actually feel this dynamic dichotomy in Ryuichi’s remix of Massive Attack’s “Fatalism.” I always get the feeling that Sakamoto’s remixes and music are a slithering between the natural and mechanical. You get a sense of Ryuichi’s earthy dedication with his delicate keyboard splashes throughout “Fatalism.” It’s no accident; when asked by Keyboard Mag if Ryuichi was teaching a masters class to young music students, how would he tell them to find their own voices and push the limits of their creativity, Sakamoto replied, “It’s a very important and difficult question. I would tell them to open their ears. It sounds like something [avant garde composer] John Cage would say, but listen to something. Sometimes, listen to silence. Look at clouds—the movement of clouds is so musical. So instead of looking for things on the Internet, go outside and look up at the clouds.”

While talking to Fader Magazine, Ryuichi shared the most poignant anecdote, a lesson about learning while listening to sound, when he said, “It is funny. Well, I had an experience sitting in a tea ceremony room in Kyoto some years ago. It was a very unique and special experience. When we were sitting no one talks, and suddenly a storm came. And so we were just listening to the sound of the storm outside. Inside, sitting inside a very tiny room for maybe half an hour. I felt like I was in the center of the universe or something, it was almost like meditating. So that, according to that experience I wanted to share a similar experience with very few friends and you know. It’s a very different way of listening to a sound.”

I get this same feeling while listening to Sakamoto’s remix of “Fatalism;” Ryuichi and his music perfectly connects in a rhythmic dignity between the electronic and natural worlds. Sakamoto’s mix is musical journey, unlock with Ryuichi piano keys remaking this renewed definition of “Fatalism.” What are you waiting for, add “Fatalism” to your next playlist? Beyond rhythm and sound, Ryuichi’s Massive Attack remix marks the 21st Century rebirth of electronic cool.