ALVA NOTO & RYUICHI SAKAMOTO announce new album ‘Glass’

 

“There are few locations more emblematic of contemplative modern aesthetic than Philip Johnson’s 1949 residence, a transparent box stripped of much beyond its focused proportions and structure. And that seems a fitting location for the exposed materials of Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto.” CDM

‘Glass’ is a recording of an inspired live improvisation by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto at the architect Philip Johnson’s hallowed Glass House, in the bucolic setting of New Canaan, Connecticut.

The structure’s transparency and seamless continuity with nature was given another dimension by the addition of this performance, whereby the building, location and audio coalesced into one perfect, harmonious whole.

Stylish, stunning and elegantly minimal, the duo’s architectural sound design evokes and synergizes with the space creatively, acoustically and literally – by using the building’s fabric as an instrument.

This is the sound of glass and of glistening condensation. Pristinely fresh audio stratus float amorphously by, unfurling from a meditative calm into an evocation of sparkling wonder, like a baby observing raindrops on a nocturnal window for the first time.

Although the work is largely tonal, textural and spatial, fleeting moments of melody appear towards the end, which despite their scarceness, achieve a profoundly moving effect.

Built between 1949 and 1995 by feted architect Philip Johnson and exemplifying modern architecture and the International Style, The Glass House hosted this site-specific event. It was commissioned by Curator and Collections Manager Irene Shum, who recalls the experience”

“The emotional drama of the forty-five minute performance was echoed in the natural environment. A sudden rain storm forced the evening’s guests into The Glass House at the start. During the performance, the storm cleared into a dramatic red and pink sunset and concluded in nightfall.

Rehearsing only one day before, Sakamoto and Nicolai experimented with a keyboard, mixers, singing glass bowls, crotales, and the architecture of the building. Contact microphones were attached to the surface of The Glass House, and using various weighted gong mallets with rubber heads that were gently but firmly dragged along the surface of the glass, they transformed the walls into an instrument, creating wistful sounds of contemplation and longing.

Similarly, Nicolai played two sets of high and low octave crotales with a horse hair bow. The pair improvised in what could be described as an intuitive call and response manner.”

To celebrate the 10th season open to the public and the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth, Irene Shum invited the 87-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to exhibit at The Glass House, resulting in the installation ‘Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking For Eternal Hope.’

Once the finishing touches to the exhibition were made, a party was thrown in the artist’s honour, which featured this private performance by Ryuichi Sakamoto (who was responsible for connecting Shum to Kusama) and Alva Noto. “When I was offered to perform at The Glass House, the first idea that came to my mind was to use the house itself as a musical instrument”, recalls Sakamoto.

“It was completely musical and 100 percent improvised, as that’s what we usually do”, he adds. “Looking at the beautiful landscape through the glass wall with Kusama’s dots was something, and it affected me, affected us, I should say, a lot. It’s a strange mixture of natural, nature, and artificial things, art.”

This intimate evening brought Ryuichi and Carsten back together for their first live collaboration since Sakamoto’s cancer diagnosis and treatment in 2014. Prior to that, Nicolai and Sakamoto had worked together on and off since 2002, releasing 6 albums as a duo.

Having met in 1999 during Nicolai’s first trip to Japan, the following year he was commissioned by the magazine Code Unfinished to remix a track by Sakamoto and impressed by what he heard, Ryuichi sent additional tracks to Carsten. This back-and-forth developed into a creative exchange that birthed their first long player ‘vrioon’, which was voted electronica album of the year by The Wire in 2004.

Most recently, the duo scored the music for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s hit film, ‘The Revenant’ which won multiple Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards.

Born in Karl-Marx Stadt, Saxony in former East Germany and based in Berlin, Carsten Nicolai studied architecture and landscape design before pursuing art and music, when his interest in David Toop’s ideas on the structural and spatial qualities of sound inspired his own endeavors.

In 2000, Nicolai adopted the pseudonym Alva Noto for his growing experiments in sound and music, to distinguish them from his visual art, for which he uses his own name.

Nicolai is part of an artistic movement whose work explores the intersection between art, science, sound and music, with a strong adherence to reductionism and a development of their own theories and sonic, acoustic and visual symbols/codes.

His musical oeuvre echoes in his work as a visual artist; Nicolai seeks to overcome the separation of the peoples’ sensory perceptions by making scientific phenomena like sound and light frequencies perceivable to both eyes and ears.

Influenced by scientific reference systems, Nicolai often engages with mathematical patterns such as grids and codes, as well as error, random and self-organizing structures. His installations have a minimalistic aesthetic whose elegance and consistency are highly intriguing – and using the principles of Cymatics – he often visualizes sound.

Nicolai has participated in important international exhibitions like documenta x and the 49th and 50th Venice Biennales, and performed or created installations in many of the world’s most prestigious spaces, including the Guggenheim, Tate Modern, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sónar and Club Transmediale.

His extensive catalogue and diverse musical projects include collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Ryoji Ikeda, Mika Vainio, Scanner, Bjork, Iggy Pop, Tarwater, Michael Nyman and Blixa Bargeld from Einstürzende Neubauten. He has contributed to compilations in tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky and Iannis Xenakis and remixed Björk, Hauschka, John Cale, Kangding Ray, Ludovico Einaudi and Pantha Du Prince.

Nicolai started the independent label NOTON between 1994 and 1996. A collaboration with RasterMusic began the same year, and by 1999 the two labels had merged into Raster-Noton, which operated until May 2017. Now Nicolai runs NOTON separately, although all parties will continue with special collaborative projects and activities under the name Raster-Noton.

Musician, composer, artist, and environmental activist Ryuichi Sakamoto was born in Tokyo and has been based in New York City since 1990. Sakamoto studied music composition and ethnomusicology at the Tokyo University of the Arts.

He pioneered electronic music as a founding member of Yellow Magic Orchestra with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, then expanded into other genres in his solo career – ranging from pop to classical piano composition, to feature film scores with full philharmonic orchestras.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including an Oscar, Golden Globe, Grammy and BAFTA for ‘Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence’ (1983); ‘The Last Emperor’ (1987); ‘Sheltering Sky’ (1990), and ‘The Revenant’ (2015).

In 2009 he was inducted into France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and in 2016 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Belgium’s World Soundtrack Academy. He has collaborated David Sylvian, David Byrne, Thomas Dolby, Iggy Pop, Taylor Deupree, Christopher Willits, Jaques Morelenbaum and the Geisha Girls.

He released a new solo studio album this year called ‘async’, which received critical acclaim, including an 8/10 review on Pitchfork.

Alva Noto plays The Barbican (solo) on 4th March Info.

www.carstennicolai.de
www.alvanoto.com
www.noton.info
www.sitesakamoto.com

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Angus & Julia Stone and their SNOW in the middle of summer.

This is not a drill! Snow alert! And yes, I am aware that we are just coming into August, it’s still summer but it’s true – it’s time for some SNOW. But don’t worry, there is no actual cold substance involved in this! It’s a name of a brand new single performed by Australian siblings  – Angus & Julia Stone.

Angus and Julia, born and raised on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, grew up around musical talent, their parents, who taught them music at home, used to have their own folk band.

 Both siblings play instruments and both are amazing song writers, they combined their incredible talents in  2006.Their success came quickly because of the magic of their music. The duo became famous worldwide, and many publishing companies and agencies showed interest in the brother-sister indie folk group.
So far, they’ve released three studio albums and won several ARIA Awards, including Album Of The Year.
Now, after a long break, they are coming back with a fresh album, also called Snow. The forthcoming album will be out later this year, on the 15th of September.
The leading single of the album is such a dreamy track but to be honest, it doesn’t have a lot to do with the actual snow apart from one line “ Blanket on my back, I’m cold, I’m cold again. Smile in the snow, tryna find something to say”. Well that… and if you fancy being out in the snow while you are listening to it, but I don’t think this can happen anytime soon!
The song seems to be about a relationship, or what is left of it. The ending is coming and the girl is wondering why the person won’t stay.
The duo’s harmony and the technique of delivering are superb, and their voices absolutely exquisite!
“Snow” makes you feel calm and you can almost imagine yourself facing the sun, wind in your hair and the slight curve of your smile…. Do yourself a favour and listen to this lovely song!
You can also find Angus & Julia here:
Let me know in the comment section if you’ve heard about this Aussie duo before, and how you like their song! Also, would you like to see a review of their album once it’s out? Share your thoughts!
Until next time! x

Let’s dance with Bimbi Philips!

Summer is finally here! And you know what comes with it!? Fantastic music to dance to, on all of those summer barbeques and parties! That’s why today, we’re going to talk about a great tune, called #Lamba. A song performed by Bimbi Philips.
Bimbi is a Nigerian artist whom some of you might recognise if you enjoy listening to Afrobeat, after hearing his first single ‘It’s Bimbi, which came out worldwide, in the early stages of 2016. The singer introduced himself well to the music scene and people seem to really enjoy his creativity and rather captivating voice.
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A few months after dropping his first single, he worked with DJ Coublon and came out with a fresh track, perfect for summer  – #Lamba – a mix of House and of course, cheerful Afrobeat. The song lyrics are really easy to listen to, the song itself makes you feel like you are on holiday and a warning – the beat will probably make you want to dance! I am currently swinging in my chair while writing this and to be absolutely honest with you, this type of music would not be my first choice, but this is incredibly catchy and joyful! I think it actually says a lot about Mr Philips as an artist! He can make anyone compelled by his music, and his new single is a great proof of it! So don’t waste any more time reading! Check out Bambi’s energetic Lamba by clicking here and let the rhythm take you!
Links:
Hope you enjoy and until next time!

Apachelux – Waiting For The Red Light

After being playlisted on The Times’ Essential Tracks of 2015, Apachelux return with dancefloor anthem ‘Waiting For The Red Light’. The Essex duo, consisting of Jay Wigmore and Louisa Strachan, take influence from a range of musical talents such as Royal Blood and Girls Aloud, forming the genre-straddling sound of Apachelux.

Their debut single ‘This Time’ gained them airplay across 30 radio stations, leading to receiving support from The Times with their second single ‘Only When You’re Lonely’ as one of their Essential Tracks of 2015.

‘Waiting For The Red Light’ is set to release 7th April but in the meantime you can listen to their past tracks below.

 

 

Jon McDevitt releases seasonal single ‘Father Christmas’ breaking away from the Christmas cliché

From creating the theme tune to the Channel 5 series ‘A Different Life’ to selling 2000 unsigned albums with his original band Geist, McDevitt isn’t a complete stranger to the music industry. Now the Christmas sing-along ‘Father Christmas’, due to be released 25th November, blends influences from The Smiths and Dexys Midnight Runners amongst others, to form an easy listen seasonal single.

This Christmas sing-along avoids the common approaches to the genre. Thoughtful lyrics by co-writer Dominic Hudson paint Father Christmas as a figure missing from Christmas, whilst allowing the listener to interpret it as to how or why; these combine with an infectious melody to make a Christmas single that stands out from the crowd!

Links:

https://soundcloud.com/jon-mcdevitt/01-father-christmas-m1-08-09-16-01-44100hz-24bits 

https://www.facebook.com/jonmcdevittsongs/

https://twitter.com/jonmcdevitt

www.jonmcdevitt.com

Norwegian pop sensation Line Mari is set to release her debut album ‘21 Days’

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Norwegian pop sensation Line Mari is set to release her debut album ‘21 Days’ on Friday 16th December.

The album is a refreshing break from the usual pop music culture. As a whole, Line Mari’s powerful collection of harmonies delivers a unique electro-pop sound, with a rock infused edged. One particular highlight is Line Mari’s most recent single ‘Haters’ which sees Line Mari laying her gorgeously wispy vocals over brooding pianos before erupting into a soaring chorus to a backdrop of tropical-tinged synths.

Line Mari was born in Tromsø, also living for some time in Svalbard, one of the most Northernly inhabited places in the world. As a child, she grew up regularly witnessing the beauty of the Northern Lights, as well as once having a close encounter with a polar bear whilst at Kindergarten. Line Mari dreamt of being a musician from birth, dancing in the womb as her mother explains. Although shy at first, by the time she was in her teens Line Mari was writing her own songs and performing. Her shyness has fuelled her songwriter, making her lyrics more personal, emotive and introspective.

Stream ‘21 Days’ here now:

https://play.spotify.com/album/01mELWzkBZHvF2d9KfC3dm

Links:

www.linemari.com

https://soundcloud.com/line-mari

https://twitter.com/linemarimusic

https://www.facebook.com/linemarimusic

Pale Honey: ‘Real Thing’

Swedish indie-rock duo Pale Honey have released  a super-cool new video for their track, ‘Real Thing’, inspired by new cult series Stranger Things on Netflix.

It can make a huge difference when a track has an awesome video and Pale Honey have certainly achieved this combining pop  culture with their guitar driven sound.

With a killer opening riff and some beautifully haunting vocals from the girls, ‘Real Thing’ is a stormer of a track. I’d keep an eye on these two if I were you.