In 1987, the same year he won an Oscar, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for scoring The Last Emperor, pioneering composer Ryuichi Sakamoto released an interesting LP called Neo Geo, an exploration of world musics and high tech. If the acutely ‘80s pop production doesn’t put you off, it’s a wonderful LP full of great ideas. And it damn well should be—its credits are laden with names like Sly Dunbar, David Van Tieghem, Bootsie Collins, Bill Laswell and Iggy Pop. Here’s the full album:
It’s Iggy Pop’s contribution that concerns us here. Smack in between his least edifying Bowie collaboration Blah-Blah-Blah and his return to hard rock on Instinct, Pop recorded an amazingly powerful vocal track for Sakamoto’s song “Risky,” which became a single. The award winning video, directed by Meiert Avis, is a lush visual tribute to the art of Man Ray, among others, and features loads of tropes from Ray’s work, notably the words drawn in light to an open camera shutter. Per Wikipedia:
The ground breaking video explores transhumanist philosopher FM-2030‘s (Persian: فریدون اسفندیاری) ideas of “Nostalgia for the Future”, in the form of an imagined love affair between a robot and one of Man Ray’s models in Paris in the late 1930s. Additional inspiration was drawn from Jean Baudrillard, Edvard Munch’s 1894 painting “Puberty”, and Roland Barthes “Death of the Author”. The surrealist black and white video uses stop motion, light painting, and other retro in-camera effects techniques. Meiert Avis shot Sakamoto while at work on the score for The Last Emperor in London. Sakamoto also appears in the video painting words and messages to an open shutter camera. Iggy Pop, who performs the vocals on “Risky”, chose not to appear in the video, allowing his performance space to be occupied by the surrealist era robot.
The video exists in two versions, one for the radio edit…
...and one for the 12” remix. This version shows loads more skin than the shorter one, so use discretion if viewing at work.