Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto
October 21, 2018
The collaboration between Japanese composer, maverick and constituent of the synth pop outfit Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and experimental electronic cosmonaut Alva Noto, i.e. German minimalist par excellence Carsten Nicolai, may only appear curious on the surface as tonight’s incarnation of the two joining forces at Sydney’s Opera House illustrated what an organic chemistry the two manage to establish by blending minimal piano with austere electronics and beats in the realm of glitch.
Sakamoto by himself usually is more accessible and enters at times sentimental territory, but the synergy between him and Alva Noto that rest on a solid foundation of improvisation adds another dimension that balances warm emotions with electronic drones, rustling noises, piercing tones and hushed sounds. It is not for nothing that the alchemy they channel has dramatically enhanced the movie The Revenant with the soundtrack they provided.
In essence, Noto and Sakamoto incarnating in a live environment is an extended, abstract musical dialogue that meanders far away from any resemblance of popular music. Starkness, tense waves building and subsiding while being framed by a sense of calm and a foreboding of intense unease is what comes to mind had one to describe their performance.
Manually created sounds are digitally processed and alienated, accompanied by the emissions of Sakomoto’s synthesizer wafting about in space like high frequency audio flying saucers, and at times it feels like their collaboration elicits a physical reaction.
The performance was set against a strangely hypnotic and calming 3-D projection that not only corresponded with the performance but was in perfect alignment – abstract and free for interpretation yet borderline tangible.
There are times during the improvised parts when the performance appears overly unstructured yet it always finds its way back to the heart of the action / reaction dynamics that makes their relationship and which aids in them finding their path.
As they complemented each other while maintaining their individuality, it did not prove too difficult to see what they have chosen the name ‘Two’ for their joint performance and tour.
An enchanting and immersive evening that allowed one to space out from the daily humdrum of the white noise outside.
Photos by Prudence Upton
Water of Life - Hine Cognac Similar to Champagne, Cognac is a region in the South Western part of France and the specific type of brandy going under the ... read more
The Formative Years – The Pushead 100 Having just entered my teenage years and developed an insatiable appetite for hardcore punk, spurned by my discovery of The Exploited, which lured ... read more
Water of Life - Milk & Honey Distillery One of my whisk(e)y related endeavours is to try emissions from regions that are commonly not really associated with spirits. Needless ... read more
High Adventures in the Great Outdoors Surf Culture, Barney Cools and the return of fabrics Surf culture and the music it is associated with is an interesting genre. Coined ... read more
Water of Life – Visions in Style What makes a great whisky tasting? I have been lucky to attend a wide range of whisky tastings on this earthround. Some were ... read more
Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:
Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.