Stranger Says: Sober and somber like its subject, Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda portrays the keyboardist for Yellow Magic Orchestra (Japan’s Kraftwerk) and renowned film composer’s solitary, workaholic life following his throat-cancer diagnosis and the Fukushima earthquake/tsunami. The latter disaster catalyzed Sakamoto into activism, and one of Coda’s most interesting bits shows him playing a water-damaged piano. “Pianos don’t go out of tune,” he says. “Matter is struggling to return to a natural state. The tsunami piano returned to nature actually sounds good to me now.” Such philosophical insights as well as footage of Sakamoto’s far-flung field-recording trips, his love for Andrei Tarkovsky’s work, and him scoring films for impulsive directors reveal an ingenious musician still questing for new ideas.
by Dave Segal