Acclaimed Japanese musician and composer Ryuichi Sakamoto is set to release the 20th anniversary edition of BTTB on Wednesday (Sept. 26). The liner notes for this edition are by the renowned Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.
In anticipation of the release, Sakamoto has dropped a new music video for “energy flow,” a hit track from the single “Ura BTTB,” released in 1999, which became somewhat of a social phenomenon in Japan and sold over a million copies. No music video was made at the time, so this is the first visualization of the beautifully haunting piano piece 20 years after its initial release.
The video was produced by the artist duo Zakkubalan, based in New York. The team of visual artists shot the entire video in Newfoundland, Canada, which is said to be the foggiest place in the world due to its unique geographical condition. They were “inspired by the Pine Trees screen by the Japanese artist Tohaku Hasegawa” and chose to capture the landscape of Newfoundland to express Sakamoto and his music’s “deep affinity towards the important elements of nature such as trees, water, wind, and fog.”
Sakamoto commended the young artists on a job well done in the press release. “‘energy flow’ is actually a hard song to visualize,” he noted. “I think Zakkubalan took pains and did a great job on it.” He also points out that there appears to be a loose storyline to the soothing monotone visuals: “I see vaguely a story about leaving one’s hometown and then returning.”
Sakamoto’s upcoming project is the 20th anniversary edition of BTTB, a piano album he originally released in 1998. Besides “energy flow,” the set will feature tracks from the first-edition BTTB from 1998, “snake eyes” and “tong poo” from the regular version released the following year, and “reversing,” included in the international edition.