Review Summary: Everything is chrome in the future!
Alva Noto sculpts sounds with what he's been bestowed, whether it be from Word and Excel files or from patterns weaved together to form a whole, united work unlike the original source. Concluding a series of albums tracing back to 2008’s Unitxt
, Noto’s most recent work finds him in the most prolific period of his career yet; already has there been two other albums he’s been involved with: with Ryuichi Sakamoto, he put out a wondrous live album by the name of Glass
, which incorporated live textures and improvisation into the duo’s performance; and on the other hand, the 2002 recording featuring himself along with Ryoji Ikeda and Mika Vainio, featured harsher soundscapes and murky glitchery in a live setting. Number three for the year finds Noto batting near a thousand, with Unieqav
being yet another triumph for Noto’s undying creativity and the exploration of beats within abstract realms.
is perhaps one of, if not, the most accessible work Noto has put his name on; for each second draws from the dancefloor rhythms of his residency at Tokyo club UNIT rather than the dronage of Stephen O’Malley or the modern classicalism Ryuichi Sakamoto often provided to their collaborations together. Described as a representation of an “underwater dive,” Unieqav
bounces through obscured patterns and glitched melodies, marking a pathway for Noto’s exploration of urban nightlife and a sensual techno grind. At one sparse moment, like in “Uni Dna,” Noto counters his own rhythms with that of guest vocalist Anne-James Chaton, who provides a recital on the ingredients of DNA so monotonously it creates this astoundingly wonderful counter-rhythm. “Uni Edit” goes against the grain by emphasizing distorted beats and grimy glitched chirps, whereas earlier album cuts “Uni Sub” and the pair “Uni Mic A” and “Uni Mic B” delve into broody, glimmering synthwork joined with beautifully repetitive basslines. The repetition throughout Unieqav
is firm and resolute, a by-product of Alva Noto’s vision of a futuristic dancefloor; or better yet, his idea of a deep sea dive.
Delving further into even more tense, evolving sounds, cuts such as “Uni Clip” and “Uni Normal” both slowly unravel themselves into textural set pieces that reveal a world of contrasting results from the patterns and unexpectedly random moments of divergence, although within this place of similarities is a sense of unity in which the album is deeply rooted within. Unieqav
doesn’t immediately set out to reveal its ace nor the tricks it contains for us to see. It doesn’t aim to instantly satisfy unsuspecting listeners, dazzle newcomers, or alienate longtime fans; but what Unieqav
does is craft a digital world sewn together by technology, biological information, science, and action. Engaged by the imprint of minimal techno beats and gliding melodies, the possibilities Unieqav
promise are far from endless, but are indeed beautiful.