ALVA NOTO: Xerrox Vol. 2 (Raster-Noton)


Posted on Mar 23rd 2009 11:13 pm

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Alva Noto: Xerrox Vol. 2

Xerrox Vol. 2
Raster-Noton 2009
11 Tracks.  66mins32 secs

Carsten Nicolai’s conceptual bent and experimental drive get relativized in a larger whole on this, the second edition of the Xerrox series.  The former, led again by Nicolai’s interest in clarity, precision, and finesse, are made to bleed into a previously untapped luxuriance.

Samples from Michael Nyman, Stephen O’Malley and Ryuichi Sakamoto are processed to varying degrees, and often occupy a delicate, fragile place between their original coherent identity and a unintelligible, anonymous state.  As a result, though the composerly feel for pace and dynamics is apparent, and though the arcs are finely wrought, the skillfully maintained ambiguity of these musical interfaces ensures that dubiously unresolved tensions characterize them equally as much.

Nicolai builds enveloping, radiant drones that, while processed such that their edges chafe and erode into a soft, and sometimes sibilant, bramble of fizz and fuzz of digital interference, they also have woven into their weft sharper angles and edges that give them a more menacing, and occasionally melancholy, form and feel.  As a nighttime symphony, Xerrox Phaser Acat 1 is evocative enough, yet Noto charges it with duality, its inner drama made to gather momentum like detritus caught up in a whirlwind, with feint but resonant and sometimes glowering details acting as structural provocations rather than mere window-dressing.

As dense as the music occasionally gets, then, Noto is quick to let discrete sounds struggle and ultimately surface.  Consequently, the music is able to be spacious and alluring without lapsing into an easy blandness.  This represents a real step forward on the part of Noto, who, though careful not to come too close, is now no longer so far away, at least not in the same way.


Icon: arrow Alva Noto | Carsten Nicolai | Raster-Noton
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