The work Ryuichi Sakamoto has done in soundtracks since the ’80s seems like enough for several lifetimes, so it’s only natural that he should be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium, which take place October 19-20. The most recent highlight in Sakamoto’s soundtrack career has been the music for The Revenant, but his CV goes all the way back to his 1983 work on Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, starring David Bowie (in which Sakamoto also appeared as an actor). Over the years, Sakamoto has crafted idiosyncratic soundscapes for everything from Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor to Almodovar’s High Heels.
Most crucially, Sakamoto’s work has deftly blended orchestral and electronic instrumentation, creating a highly original amalgam that made his music stand out no matter what the context. And of course, he’s also had a long, rich career as a performer and composer, reaching all the way back to his days with pioneering Japanese synth-pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra. At the World Soundtrack Awards, a selection of Sakamoto soundtrack music will be played by the Brussels Philharmonic conducted by Dirk Brossé. The WSA is also crowdfunding an album featuring the best of Sakamoto’s soundtrack work as realized by Brossé and the Philharmonic, so you can become a part of the process of honoring this gifted composer.