Alva Noto – Xerrox Vol.2 (Raster-Noton)

Xerrox Vol 2Alva Noto returns with a second installment in his five-part planned Xerrox series. On this follow up to Xerrox Vol. 1 (Raster-Noton, 2007), Carsten Nicolai turns up the volume in static electricity working with the concept of copying sounds. A copy of a copy of a copy in digital format may be flawless, so what does Nicolai do? For this feat, Nicolai along with Christoph Brünggel created a “sample transformer”. This software manipulation device downsamples, chops and fragments the original source, until it no longer resembles itself, becoming an error prone original, becoming a copy corrupted with noise, becoming a newly created entity in itself.

Here’s Nicolai, giving us a little more color on the second volume on the label’s website:

“xerrox vol. 2 undertakes an intense journey and affords the luxury to take its time. while xerrox vol. 1 (r-n 78) referred to the ‘old world’ with its tradition deeply rooted in classical music, xerrox vol. 2 tries to access a ‘new world’. it works with samples that have been gathered and developed in the usa – the so-called ‘new world’ – where the album also has almost completely been recorded. the dramatic and dynamic approach of xerrox vol. 1 on vol. 2 has been replaced by a structural density. instead of working with individual musical entities the new album rather develops an overall, linear aesthetic that refers to musical strategies of film music. hence there are no implicitly singular pieces, but open musical structures – a journey without a predetermined target.”

On Xerrox Vol. 2, Nicolai turns to a roster of contemporary musicians, including Michael Nyman, Stephen O’Malley, and Ryuichi Sakamoto. This volume of work is more musical and warmer, while at the same time noisier and metallic. Organic instruments are re-sampled and drenched in scattered white noise, washed out with waves of bitcrushing storms, and pierced through with needles of errors. This is not a sound of a stretched magnetic tape. This is a sound of a laser disk passed through a Hollerith punchcard machine, stamping out valuable bits of binary data, daring your brain to fill in the rest.

Strip away the conceptual process, and we are left with beautiful dark ambient and modern classical pieces that are haunting and melancholy in their nature, to the likes of Jóhann Jóhannsson, Max Richter, and Fennesz. Highly recommended if you enjoy the releases from the acclaimed Roster-Noton label. Make sure you pick up the first volume and watch out for the upcoming releases to complete your set. By the way, expect the entire set to spell XERROX through cover art, as the virst volume displays letter ‘X’, and this one, if you look closely, are letters ‘E’ and ‘R’. While you’re shopping around, I recommend you also pick up Alva Noto’s Transform and Unitxt. Oh, and one last thing. Make sure to grab Byetone‘s Death of a Typographer and Kangding Ray‘s Autumne Fold.

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