Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol. 1

If you recall your first year Classics and Philosophy, or at least barely like most of us, you’ll remember the Platonic ideal that reminds us our “real” objective world is filled with imperfect representations of perfect or “ideal” forms. So it follows that Carsten Nicolai draws our attention to the flaws and imperfections that diminish each copy of “unique” items… such as original recordings. The noises of digital errors, old fashioned modem transfers, fax tones are all drawn upward in the mixes of selected pieces, given equal attention. Of course, fans of Raster-Noton and other “clicks and cuts” proponents will likely be unsurprised by the white noise given its frequent appearances in other like-minded releases. The interference here is often much more extreme, often obliterating the original sources… and it is in these sources the next layer of concept is found. Nicolai pilfers sounds from such pillars of mundane repetition and reproduction as airport announcement tones, telephone waiting loops, 7-11 muzak. The irony is that the mutated forms of these everyday backgrounds become austere and even beautiful when demolished and reorganized in a digital copyist environment. The pieces are carefully interspersed with more pristine, unblemished takes on ambient sound to enhance the tension created by the noise. The artist and label both continue to push outward on the modern electronic frontier.


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