BTTB is an album by the Japanese musician* Ryuichi Sakamoto released in 1999. Here is the track listing:

1. Energy Flow 4:34
2. Put Your Hands Up 4:51
3. Railroad Man - Piano Version 4:41
4. Opus 4:25
5. Sonatine 3:38
6. Intermezzo 3:44
7. Lorenz and Watson 3:57
8. Choral No. 1 2:27
9. Choral No. 2 2:05
10. Bachata 8:14
11. Chanson 2:23
12. Prelude 4:07
13. Uetax 0:26
14. Aqua 4:29
15. Tong Poo 5:03
16. Reversing 3:56

 BTTB stands for "Back to the Basics", and in this spirit, it is a album of pared-down solo piano music, and it also seems to be a collection of music referencing his compositional influences, including Satie, Debussy and John Cage, as well as J-Pop and his days in the YMO.

 While some of the music of Satie and Debussy might be hard to get into, BTTB dilutes the sometimes strong flavour of that sort of music. A lot of the times this is done with silence and omitted notes, as the impressionist harmonies are mostly glancing alignments of melodic lines, rather than the thick vertical chords that you would find in the original sources. It's a thinner flavour, but still delightful. Uetax is the first piece I've ever heard in a commercial album that uses a prepared piano. It's still sounds a bit avant-garde, but a little more accessible.

 Ryuichi Sakamoto started to make this album while he was in the middle of composing his opera called 'Life'. He made the entire thing in only four weeks - two for writing, one for recording, and the last one for mixing and finalizing everything1. It did well, in particular, "Energy Flow" made it to the top of the Japanese singles chart, and sold a total of two million copies2. I remember reading in another interview he might not be returning to a purely classical music album of this kind in a while, but I'm not positive.


* I'm not sure what to call him. He had a popular band in 70s, he continues to make a lot of electronic music, he came out with a jazz album, scored Oscar and Grammy award winning soundtracks, and composes piano music as well, so...




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