Friday, November 13, 2009

Alva Noto - Xerrox Vol.2 (2009)

Does its mournful neo-classical tone indicate that Xerrox, Vol. 2 is a lament for the human elements lost in translation? I don’t think so – the tone is more to underline the seriousness of its purpose. Nicolai isn’t in denial about an increasingly mechanized world, and the best thing we can do is to try to harmonize and understand the similarities. The genius in this album is how clearly the man/machine balance comes across. Capturing this balance is nothing new (in fact, it’s even wrapped up in the name of the electro-acoustic genre), but Nicolai renders machines as something other than exotic emotion simulators. At the same time, he combines the crackle with some utterly gorgeous string work, best heard on the “Monophaser” tracks. While it was difficult to see at first, Nicolai has really moved beyond the intellectual games of Trans. More is at stake than that, and the realization necessarily carries heavy emotional impact.

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