Alva Noto returns with the fourth volume of his Xerrox series of albums. For the first single, ‘Xerrox Voyage’, Noto has enlisted the filmmaking talents of Simon Mayer. Manipulating footage of the earth taken by NASA at the international space station, the meditative video speaks to the wider themes of the album, which Noto envisioned as the soundtrack to an imaginary film.
“I finished the album at the end of February, when the COVID-19 pandemic had still not reached the status of global health emergency”, he explains. “Fear and losses increase every day. Many of us stay isolated, in quarantine. The big engine of consumption is frozen.”
“It is certainly a good time to question all norms and reassess values. I hope that we will emerge from this crisis in a different way, with more solidarity, and the certainty that we are all on the ‘same boat’ – or as Buckminster Fuller described it, on the ‘Spaceship EARTH’.” – Fact Magazine
There’s a certain muteness to most ambient music that eludes criticism, made wordlessly, unlikely to illicit verbal or written response. In the context of listening to — and indeed writing about — Xerrox Vol. 4, the fourth instalment of a planned five in Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto’s Xerrox series, in which the German composer undertakes a decade-plus long (on-going since 2007) investigation into manipulating familiar audio fragments into alien monoliths of sound, elusive sleight of hand is built-in to its purpose. This central impetus is everything we’re moored to, the sole clue we have in breaking the puzzle wide open.
The design of these fourteen pieces are marvels in themselves — intricately arranged for what is ostensibly an array of experiments — and more so without knowing how they’re made, or even how many intersecting textures fill the space at any one time. Gusts of wind buffet against the the stone-still route notes of ‘Xerrox Kirlian’, heavy droplets melt from unseen icicles on ‘Xerrox Plongée’. But Alva Noto isn’t at all concerned about revealing the blueprints to his synthetic-natural world. Xerrox Vol. 4 fittingly evokes flux because itself feels like one, piano phrases extant yet ghostly, every drone spreading until it becomes the air you breathe. – Loud and Quiet
All Raphael Ong records are non-returnable.