Culture / Music

Ryuichi Sakamoto curated his own funeral playlist – listen to it here

Ryuichi Sakamoto curated a final playlist.

The passing of Japanese musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto at age 71 earlier this year marked a dark day in the calendars of music and film lovers, agnostic of genre. Sakamoto spent a lifetime not only contributing exceptionally to the lexicon of music and film, but expanding it, pushing the frontiers of genres like techno, synthpop, ambient and New Wave across a six-decade career that spanned across both mediums. The Smiths' Johnny Marr, Massive Attack and the estate of David Bowie were among artists who lead tributes to the composer in late March.

Despite his cancer diagnoses, Sakamoto's management team penned that the late artist had still been engaging with music in his home studio as often as his health would allow during those final months. This week his management team shared an intimate final gift from the musician; a 33-song playlist he curated during that time in preparation to be played at his own funeral.

Titled simply Funeral, the set runs for approximately two-and-a-half hours, and spotlights compositions by the likes of Johann Sebastian Bach, Claude Debussy and Erik Satie, as well as Japanese composer Tōru Takemitsu. Also included was friend and musical collaborator David Sylvian (the two released the song Forbidden Colours together in 1987, as part of Ryuichi's seminal film soundtrack Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence). Opening with an 11-minute ambient composition from German electronic artist Alva Noto, the playlist winds its way through classical and contemporary pieces, before closing with Laurel Halo’s Breath from her 2020 release, Possessed.

“We would like to share the playlist Ryuichi has been privately compiling to be played at his own funeral to accompany his passing. He truly was with music until the very end," affirmed his team in the announcement this week. You can listen to Sakamoto's final curated set below.


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Image courtesy of New Regency/20th Century Fox.