Review: Back in 2008, noted experimentalist Alva Noto began a sporadic series of albums that were far more focused on dancefloor-inspired rhythms than his usual eccentric and inspiring fare. Unieqav is the third and, we're told, final part of the series. The album is apparently meant to be a sonic representation of an underwater dive, a conceptual theme which manifests itself through the storied producer's use of deep and atmospheric chords, fluid and occasionally glistening electronics, and rhythms that evoke images of ever-deeper dives into the dark, cold depths. Rhytmically, there are nods to electro, IDM, dub techno and Autechre, though the mood remains laidback and intoxicated throughout.
Review: When he launched the "Xerrox" series way back in 2007, Alva Noto intended it to run to five volumes. Here he presents the fourth volume, which largely eschews "external samples" of everyday sounds - the series was inspired by the idea of creating new musical motifs from "copies of copies" - in favour of greater warmth, emotion and musical dexterity. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the appealing, slow-burn haziness of deep ambient opener "Xerrox Kirlian" and the distinctly cinematic, Angelo Badalamenti-in-"Twin Peaks"-mode beauty of "Xerrox Voyage", to the Radiophonic Workshop style creepiness of "Xerrox Cosmos" and the melancholic, string-laden swell of "Xerrox Canaux".
Review: "Alphabet" is the pairing of French poet and sound artist Anne-James Chaton with former Raston-Noton man Alva Noto. Their debut album features Chaton's spoken word mutterings, which range from repeating a series of numbers to looped one word phrases via the annunciation of phonetic sounds, carefully filtered and layered into dark but inviting drones, cold wave and ambient experimentalism. It's all inspired by Etymologiae, an etymological encyclopaedia compiled in the seventh century by Spanish scholar Isidore Of Seville, and despite that weird and wonderful source material makes for an enthralling and atmospheric listen.
Review: While many experimentalists are still coming to terms with the death of the late, great producer and live performer Mika Vainio, his spirit lives on via occasional archival releases. This latest one is particularly special, as it presents a rare live recording - apparently the only one in existence - of Vainio's three-way collaboration with fellow electronic minimalists Ryoji Ikeda and Alvo Noto. Across 11 movements, the trio thrilling moves through droning ambient, Autechre-ish re-imaginings of Jamaican dancehall rhythms, concrete-clad electro and pulsating abstract techno, before returning to where they began. It's a dizzying and hugely enjoyable journey that somehow gets the perfect balance each of the contributor's trademark style.