Review - Moto.tronic

Artist: Ryuichi Sakamoto

A domestic "best of" seems quite unnecessary for Sakamoto, as it seems that, for much of the past decade, he's been recycling his themes from "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" and "The Last Emperor" on pretty much every record he's done, although he delivered definitive versions of those pieces way back in 1989 with "Playing the Orchestra." "Moto.tronic" is no different, but it combines those warhorses with other classical-leaning pieces from the recent past, his bossa nova adventures and a couple of forays into electro-pop. Although everyone, including Sakamoto, knows he's not making the same sort of down-the-middle dance music as "Neo Geo" (which, embarrassingly enough, is present), he seems to feel the need to emphasize his postmodern orchestral cred by slamming it on this compilation right between the gorgeous "Opus" and -- what else? -- "Little Buddha." The net effect is to emphasize how mediocre his pop music is and how exciting his orchestral pieces can be. When, of course, he writes new music.

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