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Xerrox, Vol. 2

Alva Noto

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Album Review

Reproduction, alteration, and decay are the main focuses of Alva Noto's Xerrox series: the music consists of samples altered by inserting noise through several rounds of copying. The resulting tracks seem to be atomizing before your ears, with an occasional effort to coalesce. Where Vol. 1 offered a sequence of alternating short raw pieces and mid-length ambient tracks, Vol. 2 presents itself as a more even and almost continuous suite of pieces. Vol. 1 was subtitled "Old World"; this one is "To the New World," but the meaning of those subtitles remains obscure and might very well be restricted to the geographical origins of the samples (provided this time around by Stephen O'Malley, Michael Nyman, and Ryuichi Sakamoto). The album starts with a long (over 25 minutes) piece split into four tracks, then a series of shorter compositions between two and eight minutes in duration. Like on Vol. 1, the music here is a lot more "ambient" than Alva Noto's average, but also starker and more multilayered than the first installment. It makes for an absorbing listen, especially in the opening suite and the three "Xerrox Monophaser" tracks. You can either study the copying/decaying processes used by Carsten Nicolai, or simply dive into this soundworld of gritty textures, glitchy pulses, and skeletal pieces whiteout melodies. If you don't intend to collect the whole series, skip Vol. 1 and start here. ~ François Couture, Rovi

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alva Noto is the pseudonym of German audio-visual artist Carsten Nicolai. Born in the east German city of Karl-Marx-Stadt in 1965, Nicolai first studied architecture and landscape design before pursuing an interest in the theoretical properties of sound and space. Resettling in Berlin in the early '90s, Nicolai founded the experimental music label Noton.Archiv Fuer Ton Und Nichtton as a platform for his conceptual and experimental musical concerns. Those concerns finally took shape as a 12-issue...
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