Economy of Effort

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Alva Noto Xerrox Vol. 1 (2007)

Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol. 1

2007, raster-noton

Style: minimal, glitch, ambient

For some people, the making of this album will be more interesting than the final result. On this recording, Alva Noto (Carsten Nicolai) used sound sources from real life (advertisements, entertainment, elevator music, etc), and then used software that made many (degrading) copies of the sounds, like a VHS tape copied many times over, until the Nth generation copy-from-a-copy-from-etc sounds were completely unrecognizable from their source material.

The idea is neat, but from reading that description, you might expect to hear a varied (or, at least, unique) sound palette in this recording. Instead, what this cut-and-paste amounts to is mostly buzzing white noise, awash in ambient drones. In that respect, it is somewhat disappointing. While some reviewers have been unable to get past that stumbling block, listeners that can will find that the album is a pretty effective minimal ambient recording. It’s coldly beautiful, light without being schmaltz. It’s a different sound than fans of previous Alva Noto recordings are familiar with, but it should appeal to that crowd still.

There is, unfortunately, not a lot of depth here. It’s unessential, but very enjoyable.

3 stars out of 5