I came across this Indiewire article on the Japanese film composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. It details a new documentary on his extensive body of work and brought to light a startling fact. Not only did Sakamoto compose one of the most memorable film score's in recent memory but he did it while battling a life-threatening illness.
Diagnosed with Stage III throat cancer almost four years to the day, Sakamoto released a public statement and put his work life on hold as he underwent intensive chemotherapy. The following spring, with the cancer in remission, he received an urgent call from the acclaimed Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (one of my idols) who begged him to score his new project.
"I was afraid the stress of doing this film would cause the cancer to return," he detailed in a recent interview. But ... "I knew I had to do it because working with Alejandro may only happen once in my life,".
The result is a visceral roller-coaster of soundscapes that leaves you satiated and drained all at the same time. As the film-critic David Ehrlich eloquently puts it: "It’s the sound of someone finding a way back to their body by listening for its place in the world around them."
You can listen to the full score here: