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alva noto + ryuichi sakamoto
vrioon
raster-noton   2002
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raster-noton

album rating: 3
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submitted by anton on 20-May-2003

this collaboration between the ever-ubiquitous genius of sakamoto and the ever-present low-fi minimalist alva noto is an exercise in utter concentration. on the surface the formula is very basic - wavering tiny needles and deep fuzzy bass of alva noto contrasted by floating, disconnected minimal piano touches (anyone that has watched the documentary "derrida" would recognize the elements of its great soundtrack (unfortunately wasted on that film)).

as you listen closer and closer, as the music draws you in, it attains a strange purifying, almost cleansing feel. the combination of stark minimalism and attention to details reaches the level of stylized precision that brings up the image of a calligraphy artist that values each brushstroke, transforming the act of painting into a ritual meditation. we can attempt to follow this example - sit on the floor with your back straight and head slightly tilted downwards; place your hands on your knees, palms facing upwards and let your mind float. the world transforms itself - the colors soften, the horizon extends, and everything becomes distinctly quiet - the state of complete immersion and concentration that lacks any tension.

this rigorous stoicism is surprisingly human; rigid glitch and melodic warmth are not contrasted in the usual primitive fashion that is so alluring to the newcomers of the genre, but together outline (and therefore create) an empty space - that non-deterministic, unnamed expressive entity that is placed outside of the usual semiotic dictionary employed by this type of music. defined in terms of their exterior, these voids carry an infinite amount of possibilities; they exist in the constant flux between purely functional punctuation marks and symbolic, expressive elements, engaging in the play of substitution, existence/non-existence, chaos and structure.

this release combines purely intellectual quest aimed at achieving irreducible, non-substitutable sound with elegant subtlety and amazing emotional depth - the combination that makes it a truly remarkable experience.


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