ALVA NOTO: Univrs (Raster-Noton)


Posted on Oct 21st 2011 01:35 am

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Alva Noto: Univrs

Raster-Noton 2011
14 Tracks. 62mins43secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

All through his career, Alva Noto’s Carsten Nicolai has focussed his work around a variety of concepts, some more developed or assumed than others, which have allowed him to explore the outer reaches of experimental minimalist electronic music. Univrs is the second instalment in a series of releases based on language forms, and follows Unitxt published in 2008, a record in which Nicolai developed complex rhythmic structures had been partly generated from Excel, Words and Powerpoint documents after the original data held in these files had been converted into sound.

Univrs stems from a similar idea, but the original medium is different, and to a certain extent, the process is reversed, with sound controlling images. This album started as a live audio visual experiment for which custom hardware and software was develop in order for audio signals to trigger unique colour patterns to be projected in real time. The album itself is released as a special CD and DVD edition featuring the album and a live performance of the piece recorded in Berlin earlier in the year, as well as standard CD or LP versions.

The sound is typically clinical and extremely precise, with virtually no apparent human interaction, the only notable exception being the appearance of poet Anne-James Chaton, who also contributed to Unitxt, on Uni Acronym, a piece on which he lists 208 three-letter acronyms, in alphabetical order, from AAA to ZIP, dispensed in cold robotic fashion.

The rest of the album relies almost entirely upon electro pulses of all sorts, arranged into rhythmic patterns of variable intensity and density. Occasionally, the beats drop out for a while to reveal entirely different sound sequences; atonal forms on Uni Asymmetric Tone, abrasive on Uni Asymmetric Noises, stuttering on Uni Assymetric III-IIII, heavily filtered on Uni Assymetric Sweep. But it is the seismic percussive formations and heavily processed signals which occupy most of the space here. Bound in a relentless flow of information, the succession of patterns and motifs which characterises each new piece is the only indication of the progress made through the record. Nicolai alternates between heavy rhythmic sections (Uni C, Uni Fac, Uni Dia, Uni Mode, Uni Deform, Uni Pro) and marginally more subtle compositions (Uni Rec, Uni Iso, Uni Sync) on which he pulls away from the intense percussive assault to explore, albeit at times only for fleeting moments, other noise-based electronics.

Despite the utterly electronic nature of his work, their often is something surprisingly visceral in Carsten Nicolai’s work, and this is very much the case here. His minimal rhythmic patterns and seemingly sterile soundscapes create a series of extremely intense pieces.


Alva Noto | Raster -Noton
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Filed in Albums | Tags: ,
Comments (0)

Comments are closed.