Here’s a catch-up on music news and features you may have missed:
- Globally renowned composer Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with rectal cancer, seven years after battling oropharynx cancer, he announced Thursday. “From now on, I will be living alongside cancer,” the former member of Yellow Magic Orchestra said. “But, I am hoping to make music for a little while longer.”
- Violinist Midori Goto has been picked as one of the five recipients of the 2020 Kennedy Center Honors, which are given to individuals and organizations for their contributions to U.S. culture through the performing arts. She is the first Japanese to win the award since conductor Seiji Ozawa in 2015.
- Miyavi, aka the samurai guitarist, has learned to roll with the punches in the era of the coronavirus with VR performances, he tells Yukari Tanaka in an end-of-year interview. “We planned so many things this year, and especially because I used to travel all over the world, I felt that I lost my wings,” he says. “In virtual reality though, I see the potential to find a new set of wings.”
- LLLL produces a sparkly, J-pop-inflected brand of shoegaze and has written tracks for J-pop acts including Kaela Kimura, Akiko Yano and Yuki from Judy and Mary. He’s also scored the music for ads and soundtracks — and did the theme for the JT’s “Recultured” podcast series. So what makes the perfect J-pop song? Russell Thomas grilled LLLL about this and 19 other things.
- Synthesized drum roll, please: Roland is back, like a phoenix from the flames, and its comeback has been capped by a return to the Tokyo Stock Exchange after a six-year hiatus. But did you know that the instrument maker’s late founder, Ikutaro Kakehashi, was, er, instrumental in developing the universal MIDI format for electronic music? Now you do.