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Ryuichi Sakamoto: async at the Park Avenue Armory

Stephen Nomura Schible
USA 2018 / 65’
Monument Sanju

There are eight cameras used, but we still feel motionless. Instead of nervous switching between views, we feel calm. From the moment Ryuichi Sakamoto enters the room, sits at the piano and puts his hands on the keyboard, the "borrowed stage design" in the Veterans Room becomes part of a composition from his album async, as this is its premiere performance, captured in Schible's film. We become sensitized to murmurs, we look intently at the purple blizzard, billowing clouds and rings on the water appearing on the screen above the pianist's head. He alters the interior into an atrium of augmented reality. He plays unusual instruments, striking the piano strings with chopsticks, tapping nearly invisible threads with a mallet and sampling the sounds of a piano knocked out of tune by a tsunami. async is a mature return. The concert both sealed his victory over illness and offered a reflection on passing, including in the world of sounds and clamor. The film about that evening is like a minimalist ceremony during which the listener soaks in the noises as well as the melodies of the passing world. After all, another opportunity to hear them might not come along.

Maciej Stasiowski

Stephen Nomura Schible

Born in Tokyo in 1970, Stephen Nomura Schible left for the United States at the age of 18, where he studied at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He accompanied Ryuichi Sakamoto for five years, filming him at the piano in his home, as well as during his campaign to help victims of the tsunami and the nuclear accident in Fukushima. He also accompanied the musician as he collected sound samples for his album async. While we can view the results in Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda, the concert recorded at New York's Park Avenue Armory constitutes the actual coda of the 2017 documentary. Sakamoto knows the secret to working with Schible - it's the distance between them that allows mutual understanding.

Filmography

2004 Eric Clapton: Sessions for Robert J (co-dir. Chris Hilson)

2017 Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

2018 Ryuichi Sakamoto: async Live at the Park Avenue Armory

Cast & Crew

director Stephen Nomura Schible
screenplay Stephen Nomura Schible, Ryuichi Sakamoto
cinematography Tom Richmond, Neo S. Sora
editing Hisayo Kushida
music Ryuichi Sakamoto
cast Ryuichi Sakamoto
producer Eric Nyari, Stephen Nomura Schible, Yoshiko Hashimoto
production Cineric, Borderland Media, Documentary Japan
language no dialogue
colouration colour