.....surely one of Sakamoto's greatest influences, Erik Satie was a french impressionist composer from the late nineteenth century responsible for instigating the dadaist movement in art. Probably best remembered for his three "Gymnopedies" pieces, he has undoubtably played a part in influencing both Ryuichi's parisian, and surrealistic nuances. Very close friends with the famous painter Pablo Picasso, Satie's work was often a source of inspiration to picasso's work. Just one of many examples of art influencing art.
.....Talvin singh is undoubtably one of many contemporary artists who respect Sakamoto's creative contributions to the twentieth-century(his hero-worship even spans to sampling elements of Sakamoto's music, including an unorthodox voice-improvisation originally performed by sakamoto himself!). Indeed it could even be said that Sakamoto is somewhat of a hero to the avante garde percussionist/computer programmer, who shares Sakamoto's "dream" to bring together all corners of the musical-globe to create one big sonic-family. Winner of the Mercury music prize in 1999(?), he appeared on the 2000 Sakamoto release "In the lobby at the G.E.H"(Great eastern hotel in london). Among artists that he improvised along-side were Jacque morelenbaum(whom sakamoto collaborated with on his album "1996", and later on the 2001 release of Tom jobim interpretations "Casa"), sonia slani, and Paula morelenbaum. There have been talks that Sakamoto will eventually produce a joint album project with Talvin........I'd be very interested in hearing the results, roll on tomorrow.......
.....Another world famous impressionist composer from the late nineteenth/early twentienth century was maurice ravel. His most recognized masterpiece is undoubtably the unmistakable Bolero, which Sakamoto payed hommage to by composing his excellent tribute to ravel(for which he composed for the Brian De Palma movie Femme Fatale), "Bolerish".
[NOTE: I have provided a link to a page containing a sample mp3 of "Bolerish" above. Just click on either the Femme fatale link, or the Bolerish link to go to this page.)
.....another great classical composer from the impressionist era, Claude Debussy was responsible for the de-construction of classical theoretical rules. He said he took pride in freeing music of it's shackles, and like most genius' of their time, was ridiculed by his contemporaries. He was friends with satie among other artists, and also(like satie), captured a profound artistic inspiration from the sea.
.....ryuichi's official website.
.....two links. One to Miu Sakamoto's official website, and one to her warner music japan site.
.....ryuichi's dvd-book. The excellent Elephantism soundtrack is also available.
.....this is a link to the official website of the late great bossa-nova master, Antonio Carlos Jobim.
.....a link to a website dedicated to the former "Japan" frontman, solo artist, and frequent Sakamoto collaborator, David sylian. Maybe best remembered to Sakamoto fans for his expressive vocal work on the track "Forbidden colours", and also for his work on Ryuichi's "Heartbeat" album.
.....The french avante garde film-maker Jean Luc Godard is probably sakamoto's greatest artistic influence. Ryuichi has often said in interviews that his artistic musical drive comes from trying to interpret the idiosyncratic worlds of godard. The most famous of Godard's work's being the cinematic classic, "Breathless".
.....one of the most controversial artists of our time, John Cage is probably best known for writing the piece 04'33" in which he sat down at his piano to an eager audience, lifted the lid to it's keyboard, and proceeded to sit there timing the duration of 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The idea of course being that the audience would soak-in the ambient sounds around them, and identify/acknowledge the randomness and chance of everyday noises as "music". I feel Cage was trying to express the notion that music is percieved differently by each person, and that maybe the real composers are the listeners who percieve the music idiosyncratically (I think it was T.S.Elliot who once famously said "the poem I write may not be as good as the same poem read by somebody else".....or something to that effect ^_^). Needless to say alot of mumours, heckles, and otherwise irritated outcries persued, and some of the audience even got up and left the concert(with other acts still to come that evening). At the time, it was thought of as ludicrous by many artists, and even the most outlandish and modern amongst them failed to foresee the dramatic effect it was to have on the art. Nowadays of course, the piece is widely acknowledged to be one of, if not THE most important musical statements of the century.
.....one of Ryuichi's musical heroes, Maurice Jarre is probably best known for his epic oscar winning score to the film "Lawrence of arabia".