Sleeping Dogs Lie 02jul10: Alva Noto

Three simultaneously released EP’s that are really something of a trilogy. Once again, packaged elegantly in fold-out sleeve folders, the size of a greeting card with a practical and clean-line die cut that makes retrieval of the sounds inside at a fingers touch. It’s more physics from Carsten Nicolai, but here there seems to be a greater depth of independence from the pure physics of his linear sound, and a concentration on the asymmetry of pitter-patter microgrooves, following up on his amazing live work. With sixteen tracks in all, Transrapid is the first release in the set and kicking off with “Funkbugfx” couldn’t make the room fill up with warm scattered notes more quickly. It’s like dropping an armful of silverware in space, kling klang, indeed. The sizzling buzz is hotwired. It’s a confident, bass-built sound from the ground up – like some type of free-floating CAD design installation that you are cast into. This is surely one for a full-on surround sound treatment. And when it comes to tracks simply titled “Future” Nicolai doesn’t casually paste faux imagery for the fad expectant, he delves into the coarse innards of every curvilinear angle and turnabout presenting something of an organic architecture tested for stealth ears willing or not to accept the fact that cultural plasticity has outgrown us humans. By including tracks ranging in timing from :16 to 8 minutes+ he knows that even the scraps, the sources, the edits are essential to making sounds that layer together those slices in between matter, finding a rightful home when honed from scratch. Tracks like “F117.Tiff” just propel and sputter with an astute assumed sense of gravity. The sense that what you hear is in the fourth dimension is uncanny. If the original Planet of the Apes film were made so machines took over the planet, rather than chimps, it would sound like some of what is proposed on these new works. With a nod to some the drums and wires of early 80s synth pop, the work expands upon some of the rhythm nation of yore and contracts only every other note, cuts and filters it, adding only essential structures and no frilly fillers. Along with the accompanying esoteric essays written for each of these three discs, Nicolai has composed the most symbiotically formatted work to date. (

01. Alva Noto: “Funkbugfx” (8:29) from “Transrapid” (2004)
02. Alva Noto: “Pulse (XS Version)” (2:32) from “Transrapid” (2004)
03. Alva Noto: “Future” (7:15) from “Transrapid” (2004)
04. Alva Noto: “Highmatrix” (2:21) from “Transrapid” (2004)
05. Alva Noto: “Remodel” (5:33) from “Transvision” (2005)
06. Alva Noto: “J” (5:52) from “Transvision” (2005)
07. Alva Noto: “Postfabric” (3:30) from “Transvision” (2005)
08. Alva Noto: “10” (6:16) from “Transvision” (2005)
09. Alva Noto: “Bit” (5:49) from “Transspray” (2005)
10. Alva Noto: “Birr” (1:48) from “Transspray” (2005)
11. Alva Noto: “Obi One (Edit XS Version)” (2:40) from “Transspray” (2005)
12. Alva Noto: “Autoshape” (5:39) from “Transspray” (2005)
13. Alva Noto: “Spray” (1:39) from “Transspray” (2005)