Ryuichi Sakamoto and Illia Bondarenko Combine Violin and Piano for “Piece for Illia” as an Expression of Fragile Hope and Resistance in the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Ryuichi Sakamoto, photo courtesy the artist

Legendary composer Ryuichi Sakamoto sent files back and forth with Ukrainian violnist Illia Bondarenko to produce the song called “Piece for Illia” for the benefit compilation For Ukraine (Volume 2) to help raise funds to support displaced people affected by the crisis in Ukraine ongoing. The composition features a mournful violin prominently carrying the melody as background synths establish a sonic canvas upon which the strings and a spare piano part sketch and embody the sense of loss and hope against hope Bondarenko has helped to evoke in uniting musicians from a bomb shelter in Ukraine. For the project overall Bondarenko has worked not just with local musicians but violinists from around the world and from twenty-nine countries as a display of solidarity and the way music and the arts can provide expressions of resistance and fortitude in a time of struggle. Listen to “Piece for Illia” on Soundcloud and follow Sakamoto on Spotify, both linked below. You can purchase a download of the benefit compilation on Bandcamp also linked below.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Composition of “Dance – Ambient Version” Was Informed by the Tactile Sound of Valentino Fabric to Craft its Sense of Deep Mystery

Ryuichi Sakamoto, photo courtesy the artist

In scoring the soundtrack to Luca Guadagnino’s (the director of the 2018 Suspiria remake) The Staggering Girl, Ryuchi Sakamoto wanted to incorporate the physicality of the sound of Valentino fabrics. He experimented with using fabric samples and, according to the composer, “utilizing special sensitive microphones, I experimented ‘playing the fabrics. I love the sound and how it forces one’s attention to a sound all round us, yet almost entirely ignored.” The latter quality is captured well on the song “Dance – Ambient Version.” With minimalist piano lines shifting up and down as string figures entwine their way through and background drones bring a nearly intangible lushness to a song that sounds like it would fit a 1960s period piece with underlying tones of mystery as with the beginning of an Alfred Hitchcock film with the menace not yet arrived but lurking in the hints of melancholy and introspection and a sense of new beginnings heard in the theme music foreshadowing the tragedy to come. Listen to “Dance – Ambient Version” on YouTube and follow the renowned composer at the links below. The Staggering Girl Original Soundtrack was released February 14 on Milan Records.