Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol. 2 (Ratser Noton) 2LP
In his capacity as a successful multidisciplinary artist and digital electronica producer, Carsten Nicolai – aka Alva Noto, among other things – puts out a lot of stuff. Even the most dedicated followers of his work could be forgiven for finding themselves playing catch-up, from time to time.
Living in an age when months, even years can pass between an album’s CD release and its appearance on vinyl adds an extra layer of confusion for the record snobs among Nicolai’s fan base. Anyway, Bubblegum Cage III can state, without fear of contradiction, that the second volume of Alva Noto’s Xerrox series has been issued on vinyl, at some point between the album’s 2009 CD release and now.
The Xerrox project seems like Nicolai’s reaction to William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops series, where mildewed tape loops were digitally archived and – in the process – destroyed. But whereas Basinski simply allowed his loops to auto-destruct, Nicolai works exclusively in the digital realm, contriving ways to distress and disgrace a selection of pristine musical samples.
And what samples! It says something of Nicolai’s status in the art and music worlds that he is able to openly thank Michael Nyman, Ryuichi Sakamoto (a regular Alva Noto collaborator) and SunnO)))’s Stephen O’Malley for providing some of the sampled source material on this album.
As with Vol. 1, the sounds used on here are considerably lusher and more immersive than one would expect, based on the arid, pointillistic sound of classic Alva Noto albums such as Prototypes. Tracks like “Xerrox Monophaser Two” wantonly spray gorgeous orchestral chords with a scurf of digital distortion. This is an ingeniously simple formula and one that produces an album of truly poignant beauty.
And – as previously stated – it’s an album that is available on vinyl, though goodness knows how long it’ll actually stay in print. Buy it at Forced Exposure, while you can.