Ryuichi Sakamoto's async was among the most acclaimed experimental albums of 2017, as well as one of the veteran composer's most well-received solo works in decades.
The original async pieces are inspired by everyday objects and sculptures, and they distill sounds and atmospheres into audio snapshots that might seem alien at first, but become clearer and more resonant on repeated listens.
As the title suggests, a lot of the sounds seem to be arranged arrhythmically or randomly, but again, the more one listens, the more it's obvious that there's a rhyme and reason to everything happening on this album.
Its subsequent remix collection features interpretations by a top-notch selection of artists who have clearly been inspired by Sakamoto, but inject their own personalities into his compositions.
Some of the remixes seem to standardize Sakamoto's concepts a bit, making easy-to-follow rhythms snap in place, and emphasizing the melodies; Electric Youth turn "andata" into a chugging synthwave anthem, for example.
By contrast, Oneohtrix Point Never takes the same piece and brings it from the shadows into heavenly columns of light.
Both mixes sound great, but OPN's is far more dramatic.
Arca and Yves Tumor add their own vocals to their contributions, with Arca turning "async" into an operatic epic filled with steely, trudging beats that sound like a knight in a broken suit of armor crawling across the ground, but never giving up the fight.
Cornelius' mix of "ZURE" might be the most surreal, filled with sudden pauses and brief, unexpected interjections of water drops, piano notes, and flanged feedback.
Andy Stott's typically phenomenal "remodel" of "Life, Life" maintains a balance between airiness and heavy bass, and seems like a logical postscript to his excellent, YMO-inspired 2016 full-length, Too Many Voices.
The collection ultimately ends up feeling like a tribute as well as a remix album, serving to highlight Sakamoto's considerable influence on generations of forward-thinking electronic musicians.