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London, 2020

Live in London is not the first collaboration between Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and American producer Taylor Deupree, some of their past works together include Perpetual in 2015, and Disappearance in 2013. This live album is the result of their performance at St. John's Cathedral in London in 2014, for the Boiler Room. Originally released as a double LP in 2016, this online re-release allows for a wider distribution of this fantastic sonic experience. 


The performance is released as one single track; an uninterrupted journey, allowing the listener to experience naturally and as it was meant to be. To fully grasp the intensity of its content, it is necessary to listen to it from beginning to end. Both musicians work in full collaboration; Deupree providing the canvas to Sakamoto’s abstractions. The former’s textures complement the latter’s sonic experiments. None of them overpower the other, and the performance stays tasteful at all times. 


Because of the length of the experience, one can identify a few markers that allow to break it into sections. Live in London starts on the duality between Deupree and Sakamoto: a thin dreamy layer and a prepared piano — noise, glass, bell, chimes. it announces the main scenario of the performance; the union of different textures: bright, muffled, hard, soft etc. A bass pulse settles in with the muted piano, and it is not until the end of the first quarter of the performance that the first actual piano note is heard and allows for a discreet melody to settle in. The approach of Sakamoto is akin to picking the strings, in a guitaristic manner; he alternates between noises and melodies, and the border between both is blurry. Parallely, Deupree plays on waves of sound, levels of gain, feedback and saturated white noises, in the depths of electric circuits. An instrumental surprise is the melodica, that although hard to identify at first, brings a different breeze to the soundscapes; something natural and almost folkloric. The piano acts as a bridge between electric and acoustic, the impressionism of Sakamoto and the layering of Deupree. 


Live in London is an enveloping experience more than anything else. While one could expect melodic performance, but it never really gets there. And that is what makes it so interesting; how the listener is unconsciously taught to focus and pay attention. To listen to the music that is hidden, the music of noises and sounds, the one that is not obvious to the ear.

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