Sleeping Dogs Lie 23jul10: Alva Noto

This Alva Noto CD brings together disparate recordings created throughout the last four years, unified under a theme of dedication. All nine studies share the history of being made specifically for someone or for a project that for one reason or another remained open ended.

“wall anfang” for example, opens with a the voice sample “there must be a reason why it is so clear in my mind.” When we realize the person speaking is pioneering contemporary Canadian photographer Jeff Wall, we may understand the rising high tone that introduces the track as the imitation of a photo-flash warming up to be triggered. The track was originally prepared for a documentary about Wall, who became famous for his large scale light boxes that cast white light evenly through his photographs. Like this balanced light, the track presents a purity of thought, that spirals inside and out, the voice of Wall breaking only impartially this conjecture of sound, while adding an atmosphere of introspection and study to the piece.

The percussive, almost marimba like sounds of the track “jr” echo the woodcutting of Japanese printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, (whose work Wall allegorized in his photograph A Sudden Gust of Wind (after Hokusai),1993). The stark, poised three point intervals of sound bring to mind the intricate and exquisitely considered compositions of Hokusai style of Ukiyo-e pictures of the floating world. Jhonn Balance’s premature death in 2004 gave way to multiple dedications to his life and music by people who took influence from his activities in Coil. The track “odradek” was originally prepared for the tribute record …It Just Is (In Memoriam: Jhonn Balance). Nicolai worked with Balance when commissioning him for the award winning release 20′ to 2000 a CD set for the last 20 minutes of the year 1999.

These diverse engagements come to rest within this release. Like the image that seals the font cover of the CD, that depicts liquid oscillating with various frequencies, we are reminded that sound can give form to image and to thought and that it may continue to resonate in absences, particles, or processes until a point of final closure. (Andrew Cannon,

1. Alva Noto: “Counter” (2:01) from “For” (2006)
2. Alva Noto: “Transit” (12:40) from “For” (2006)
3. Alva Noto: “Station Remo” (9:20) from “For” (2006)
4. Alva Noto: “Gulf Night” (6:36) from “For” (2006)
5. Alva Noto: “Flashforward” (7:43) from “For” (2006)
6. Alva Noto: “Jr” (4:30) from “For” (2006)
7. Alva Noto: “Odradek” (9:37) from “For” (2006)
8. Alva Noto: “Wall Anfang” (6:25) from “For” (2006)
9. Alva Noto: “Alva Noto.z1” (6:20) from “For” (2006)