async is the incredibly absorbing (but would you expect anything less?) new album from the legendary Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, fourteen tracks of perfectly formed electro-acoustic composition that sounds quite unlike anything or anyone else out there in the world right now.
Having consistently astounded us with his countless soundtracks and collaborations, async finds Ryuichi Sakamoto operating on a purely solo tip. Composed in the aftermath of a health scare, async carries a ghosted melancholy feel that floats in the background of each piece, always just out of reach yet its presence strongly felt.
This is no more evidence than in the slowly uncoiling piano notes that drift through in Disintegration yet quietly rears its head in the quiet moments between the keys. This is true also of the grandiose Solari, which carries the spirit of classic Popol Vuh and Laraaji within its skyward gaze.
The key to Sakamoto's genius lies in his ability to transform the sounds of his instruments into objects that sound like they are being transmitted from some far off land, from the Monolake rebreather style heart beat of Zure through the haunted rainfall that cloaks the late night wonderings of Walker, the sounds within async are further testament if any were needed of the acute musical genius of Sakamoto.
We could go on about how good this album is for days, no matter who you are we urge you to spend some time with async. One of the year's best? Most likely the decade.