Life Listens: New music from Ryuichi Sakamoto, SZA, Soccer Mommy, Nicholas Teo and Shabir

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In this weekly column, The Straits Times curates the most buzz-worthy music you need to know about now.

Ace Album: Ryuichi Sakamoto – 12

Acclaimed Japanese composer and musician Ryuichi Sakamoto’s newest album, his 15th, serves as an audio diary of his ongoing battle with rectal cancer.

Titled 12, the album comes less than a week after another tragedy – the death of his former bandmate Yukihiro Takahashi from aspiration pneumonia at the age of 70, linked to a brain tumour. Both of them were part of the highly influential Japanese electronic band Yellow Magic Orchestra, which had its start in the late 1970s.

Sakamoto, 71, was also diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014. The musician, who has won an Oscar, a Bafta, a Grammy and two Golden Globes for his film scoring work, recorded the new songs between 2021 and 2022.

All the minimalist ambient and piano instrumentals were titled after the dates in which they were composed.

His first solo material since 2017 album Async, the pieces are solemn and meditative. If you listen closely, you can even hear his laboured breathing in the mix.  – Eddino Abdul Hadi

Must-See MV: Soccer Mommy – NPR Tiny Desk Concert

American singer-songwriter Sophie Allison, better known by her stage name Soccer Mommy, will be one of the acts performing at The Alex Blake Charlie Sessions, the women-led music festival that will take place at the Pasir Panjang Power Station from Feb 21 to 25.

Her recent performance on online concert series Tiny Desk by American media organisation NPR Music works as a preview of what fans can expect from her upcoming...

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