Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto :: Summvs (Raster-Noton)

This music, this album, will be the perfect companion for lonely, dreary mornings; afternoon fall under the covers with only headphones. Just beautiful and bursting with inspiration.

Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto 'Summvs'

[Shop] Write a preamble about Alva Noto, also known under the name of Carsten Nicolai, proved futile as the musician clouds the issue since the beginning of his career. If I say that reading that Amon Tobin’s last album or Richie Hawtin’s performance in front of (Anish Kapoor’s) Leviathan are close to contemporary art does hurt, I would use euphemisms as easily as Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamota use sonorous metaphors. Let’s just say that in terms of electronic and experimental music, particularly glitch, he is one of the most exciting artists of this generation. Whether during his recent collaboration with Blixa Bargeld (Einstürzende Neubauten) within the project ANBB or to work with Ryoji Ikeda, Mika Vainio or Michael Nyman, it is in the service of sound, handling silence as part of his experimental approach. Ryuichi Sakamoto is a pianist he recognized internationally, and raged since its inception in a plethora of projects. The pair of chapels and not so much the better. Their collaboration began in 2002. Summvs promises to be the fifth and final installment in the series. Following the glory days of Mille Plateaux, the label Raster-Noton gathered from near and far, all experimental electronic music of virtuosic account. His music, avant-garde, white and uncompromising, is sometimes referred to by some as innocent.

On this album (and previous), complementarity navigation and timid art (contemporary or not), is embodied. Because yes, there is nothing so beautiful as when it is suggested. Hence the interest in knowing how to use silences, so that the music breathes within a frame. The music of this duo is “white.” But it comes alive and takes shape when Sakamoto presses the keys and pedals and also when Alva Noto produces metronomic pulses. A blast of inspiration. The music is emblematic of breathing, as much as it is digital. Commenting upon the duo’s music seems so vain and superficial, while I am writing these lines. It shouldn’t only be described, it has to be felt. Let’s consider the difficult “Halo.” Both musicians engage in a dialogue not so ambivalently abstract between the mysterious aspect of the minor keys of Sakamoto and the moods and textures of Alva Noto, whom they seem to express a disarming revelation. And what about these seriously corrugated sounds featured on “Pionier IOO,” where the inner ear is put to the test, and the listener thrown from his horse, absorbed by the breath of divine revelation. Who wants to navigate without the luxury of “Naono” following the convoy? Absorbing “By This River,” with its Brian Eno feeling, also contains treasures buried within.

With such minimalism, the duo manage to convey many emotions and feelings. Falsely described as hermetic and elitist by those very people who cite contemporary art as they cannot understand its process. This music, this album, will be the perfect companion for lonely, dreary mornings; afternoon fall under the covers with only headphones. Just beautiful and bursting with inspiration.

Summvs is out now on Raster-Noton. [Shop]

Original review by Ed Loxapac, syndicated from Chroniques électroniques and edited for igloomag.com.

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1 Comment

  1. k-shan says:

    not hermitic and elitist at all. sparsely lyrical, emblematic of breathing even.

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