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Alva Noto & Sakamoto, Ryuichi / Summvs
Album:Summvs Collection:General
Artist:Alva Noto & Sakamoto, Ryuichi Added:11/2011
Label:Raster Noton 

A-File Activity
Add Date:2012-02-12 Pull Date:2012-04-15 Charts:Classical/Experimental
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Album Review
Guest DJ Account
Reviewed 2012-02-04 
Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto - 'summvs'

genres: ambient, electronic, glitch, experimental, modern classical, drone

'summvs' (a portmanteau of sorts between "summa" and "versus") is the fifth collaborative effort between Japan's Ryuichi Sakamoto and Germany's Carsten Nikolai (aka Alva Noto) since their first album together in 2002, 'vrioon.' These two musicians serve as perfect foils for one another, with Sakamoto's evocative piano compositions fusing naturally into Noto's sparse digital rhythms and cautious manipulations. The release speaks strongly of modern classical, with Sakamoto purportedly working on an ultra-rare piano (one of only fifteen in the world) using 16th interval tuning and Noto working subtly around Sakamoto's melodies with a strong sense of space. More so than on their previous collaborations, the duo play into a harmonic sensibility that keeps the longer tunes interesting and helps contextualize the shorter, glitchier works. (Generally, sub-five minute tunes are sparser and less melodic.) On a whole, the release is memorable, atmospheric, and beautiful; how well that suits for airplay is entirely up to you. These are all spacious, slow building tracks, probably most fitting in a forward-thinking classical show or late-night in an ambient set. Think "Music With Space." RIYL: Pole, Ben Frost, Fourcolor, Type Records.

recommended: 7, 5, 3, 8, 2.

1. (3:04) contemplative, extremely sparse, introductory. very ambient for radio play. (-)
2. (6:57) glitchier, more melodic and rhythm, denser piano activity. easier to grasp at. (+)
3. (7:10) less glitch, more piano. beautiful, somber, lush. (+)
4. (2:37) cautious piano tinkling over synth drone. (o)
5. (5:45) steady but dynamic rhythm, progressive (dare I say catchy?) piano -- the highlight so far. (++)
6. (4:07) back to glitch. very, very sparse.
7. (4:08) beautiful, harmonic. perhaps the strongest melody of the bunch. (++)
8. (11:20) a long, memorable slow-burner. takes a while to get there but it's worth it. (+)
9. (3:00) slow waves of sea-foam chords. (o)
10. (8:30) a drawn-out reprise of track 7. works in the context of the album but I like the earlier track more. (+)


[song ratings: --/-/o/+/++]
reviewer: sean murphy

Track Listing
1.Microon I 6.Ionoscan
2.Reverso 7.By This River
3.Halo 8.Naono
4.Microon Ii 9.Microon Iii
5.Pionier Ioo 10.By This River - Phantom