Alva Noto, he of the cold and abstract electronica (that is usually also super-banging), returns to his Xerrox series. As the title suggests, the concern here is with copying and re-copying, creating all-new material in the process. Unexpectedly, Xerrox Vol. 3 is grounded in Noto’s intimate personal memories, a rare but compelling move from him.
Vinyl Double LP £20.99 RN159-2
2LP on Raster Noton.
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- Xerrox Vol. 3 by Alva Noto
Raster-Noton honcho Carsten Nicolai’s towering reputation in the world of ultra-minimal electronica rests mostly on the austere yet intensely rhythmical material he’s put out as Alva Noto over the last fifteen years or so. His Xerrox series, of which this is the third volume, jettisons his trademark pneumatic glitches in favour of exploring a beatless, more ambient and melodic sensibility.
The thing that is immediately striking about this record is just how arrestingly cinematic and beautiful the whole thing sounds. Out from the interludes of spacey tones and rippling fields of static emerge luscious string surges that swell on an interstellar scale before contracting into brooding resonances. Nicolai has appropriately subtitled this volume ‘Towards Space’ and cites childhood memories of science fiction films, such as Tarkovsky’s ‘Solaris’ as an inspiration. Which perhaps explains the odd mixture of wonder, melancholy and even nostalgia that the music evokes; a kind of elegy for the futurist awe of the 1970s maybe?
My favourite track is ‘Xerrox 2devol’, which sets up a hazy backdrop around a mournful two-note synth receding into the distance under a faint film of high frequency degradation. The foreground is taken up with an almost randomly rotating cluster of notes- sounding like a kind of cosmic thumb-piano; with the precise combination of these elements sublime in a way that’s hard to pin down in words. There are ‘Tarkovsky moments’ like that right through the record, making it an album that will appeal to all lovers of deep, cinematic music as well as no doubt being celebrated by Noto fans as one of his best.
9/10 Jacob Davies 23rd April 2015
Carsten's latest Xerrox volume reaches a crossroads where minimalist electronica meets cinematic ambient tones. The simplicity of this album lends itself to endless interpretation, using extended tones that carry a weight capable of evoking powerful emotions and retrospective pondering of life itself. The soundtrack is one which, track by track, carves a space in which the listener can become immersed in a vacuum of sound; the consistency of this album means it is easy, if not likely, to enter a deep state of calm from start to finish.
Carsten invites the listener to move beyond the dimension of simply listening. From the abstract tones of Xerox Helm Transphaser to the faint piano in Xerox Spiegel, the album carries the listener with ease and simplicity. Approach this album with an open mind, and this album will fill it with endless thought.
Consider this review not a description of the technicalities of the musical production, but an attempt to convey the possibilities this album has for the individual. Consider this a review of the power this artist has to create an atmosphere of feeling. But, most importantly, consider listening to this album.
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