Ryuichi Sakamoto has shared a new video for his 2021 track silence. We’re thrilled to be premiering it here today (21 December) on Crack Magazine.
The song and visual form part of a global project called PRSNT, which is helmed by Barcelona-based label Modern Obscure Music and Created By Us. First teased in February, the project launched with a 12-track compilation that featured Sakamoto’s contribution along with works by the likes of Lafawndah, Lyra Pramuk, Visible Cloaks, Laurie Spiegel, Kelman Duran and Lucrecia Dalt.
The artists involved were tasked with producing substantial and affecting pieces that lasted approximately 30 seconds. The concept stemmed from research on shortening attention spans and the changing ways in which we engage with music online. Modern Obscure Music’s Christian Lopez and Pedro Rufi were particularly inspired by a study that found that “around a third of all listeners using digital platforms skip to the next track, within the first 30 seconds of playing.” Sakamoto’s contribution is the final track on the release and closes the project with 32 seconds of pure silence.
PRSNT has evolved into an audiovisual affair, with globe-spanning directors and visual artists such as Carlota Guerrero, Duncan Winecoff and Axel Byrfors on board to create the 12 accompanying visuals. Sakamoto’s new video for silence was directed by award-winning filmmaker Diana Kunst, who has previously worked with musicians such as James Blake, Rosalía, A$AP Rocky and Mykki Blanco. More recently, Kunst directed FKA twigs and Central Cee’s Measure of a Man video, as well as Kelsey Lu and Boys Noize’s new visual for Love and Validation.
Here, she lends her storytelling skills to Sakamoto’s conceptual composition. Kunst’s black-and-white visual captures various individuals breaking away from the bustle of everyday life to scream. It’s a silent film – in keeping with Sakamoto’s piece – with only a fleeting portion of city noise at the very end.
Speaking on the visual in a statement, Kunst said: “Everybody is reinforcing their structure of the universe over and over again, and you meet [each other] like two huge things colliding. You say, ‘I’ll make believe you are who you think you are, if you make believe who I think I am’…Everybody’s busy being somebody.”
“But then,” she adds. “At some moment it feels like that suit doesn’t fit quite so well, you are constantly uncomfortable and you are trying to readjust yourself. This film is an invitation to reflect about the suit you are wearing. Are you feeling at home? Are you feeling peace? Are you feeling content? Have you felt that there’s probably a place which your inner self knows you will feel more at home, more content or more at peace, but for whatever reason you were not able to get there yet?”
Continuing, Kunst tells viewers: “This is an invitation to identify and question everything that has domesticated us in this society, to create space and silence within yourself, to quiet all that noise and connect with your infinite intimacy, which is a vast field of exploration. It’s an invitation to take that path, to shed that suit and bloom.”
Watch the silence visual in the player above and head to the PRSNT site to view the other films. You can also visit to the Modern Obscure Music Bandcamp page to pick up the compilation on vinyl. Proceeds from the sale of the LP will be donated to mental health charity, Brain and Behaviour Research Foundation.