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Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto: Glass (CD, Noton, February 2018)

You’ll think I’m silly, but I almost didn’t want to listen this: I love Alva Noto, I love Ryuichi Sakamoto, I love Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto, Sakamoto’s latest album was almost heartbreakingly perfect, and I didn’t want to be disappointed. Well, I’m glad I got over myself, because this is a magical and wondrous […]

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: async (2LP, Milan, September 2017)

Oo oo oo, I’m super-excited that, after a six month delay, the vinyl of this is out and I am holding it in my hands right now. (Well, not while I’m typing, obviously. It’s lying beside me right now.) I’ve been listening to it digitally and loved it already, but this gatefold beauty is a thrill. […]

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Ryuichi Sakamoto, Illuha, & Taylor Dupree: Perpetual (CD, 12K, February 2015)

I’ve had a few odd experiences listening to this record on headphones. Once, for example, travelling on the tube, I felt lifted out of time and space. This metal box we were in wasn’t a carriage hurtling down the Northern line, but some kind of pocket of stasis where position and movement had no meaning. […]

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Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto: Summvs (CD, Raster-Noton, May 2011)

It’s no exaggeration to say that my first hearing of this duo’s 2005 album Insen, and their concert at the Barbican, were transformative experiences for me. I’ve steered clear of their two subsequent releases, for fear that they would be disappointing (while developing a considerable awe of Carsten Nicolai’s other work, and Raster-Noton in general). But […]

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Willets + Sakamoto: Ancient Future (CD, Ghostly International, July 2012)

I have a big soft spot of Ryuichi Sakamoto’s experimental collaborations, with Christian Fennesz and in particular with Alva Noto. Here, his stately, deliberate piano playing is accompanied by droning guitar and electronic manipulation from Christopher Willets. It doesn’t have the single-minded intensity of the Fennesz work, or the wonderful contrast of precision and fuzz […]

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My albums of 2018

Annual round-up time! Lots of lovely rekkids this year (I think I say that every year, but it’s true every year!). In the classical/drone/ambient space, I loved records from Clarice Jensen, Lubomyr Melnyk, and Sarah Davachi. In the nice gentle techno space, there were corkers from ASC and (stretching the genre-bucket a bit, here) Automatisme. […]

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CV & JAB: Zin Taylor — Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface (LP, Shelter Press, February 2018)

When I discover a record I really like by an artist with a few releases under their belt, it’s tempting to go back and binge on their back-catalogue. I normally try to resist, having found that it mostly leads to disappointment, and often dilution of the pleasure of the music that kicked the whole thing […]

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Music

Alva Noto: Unieqav (2LP, Noton, March 2018)

Ah, lovely Alva Noto. This record is a follow-up to 2008’s Unitxt and 2011’s Univrs and very much a continuation of those works, although with elements of the Xerrox sequence in there too — it’s considerably less surprising than Glass, his latest collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto. There are those skittering glitchy clicky beats that I just love, there are those […]

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Music

My albums of 2017

Alright, then, popkids, time for my annual round-up… I listened to lots of great records this year, thanks everyone! My longlist included records by Aiden Baker & Karen Willems, Colleen, Duran Duran Duran, Hior Chronik, Kelly Lee Owens, Marcus Fjellström, Still, and William Basinski, but none quite made the final cut. I spent a long time with a shortlist of […]

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Goldmund: Sometimes (LP, Western Vinyl, December 2015)

This is Keith Kenniff’s first album as Goldmund since 2011’s Civil War song cycle All Will Prosper, although this harks back more to 2010’s Famous Places. Which is to say that these are short improvisations for solo piano (17 tracks here in 46 minutes), swathed (to a greater or lesser extent) in ambient swooshiness and backed […]