June 3, 2019

Alex Bainter presents: Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto

Today we have a guest host: Alex Bainter, who is working on generative.fm. Bainter creates and composes “generative music,” which is music that, like irrational numbers, is infinite and non-repeating. His site performs beautiful, everlasting ambient music by executing javascript files. Here he recommends one of the influences on his own work, which we’d love to hear your reactions to – just reply to this email.

Today we're listening to a series of collaborations from Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and German musician Alva Noto. Sakamoto was a founding member and keyboardist for Yellow Magic Orchestra, an internationally acclaimed trio which pioneered electronic music starting in the late 70s. Alva Noto is a pseudonym used by Carsten Nicolai who is most known for producing electronic, minimal, and experimental glitch music. The two have collaborated on a variety of projects, including a recording of a 2016 performance at Philip Johnson's Glass House titled Glass, the soundtrack for Alejandro Iñárritu's 2015 film The Revenant, and five albums collectively known as the Virus Series. The Virus albums (Vrioon, Insen, Revep, Utp_, and Summvs) are mostly comprised of piano and other instrument work by Sakamoto, which has been processed, edited, and mixed with minimalist electronic sounds by Alva Noto. The result is shockingly beautiful and ranges from haunting, to melancholic, to strangely uplifting. Sakamoto's piano provides a consistent thread to carry the listener through sounds and treatments from Alva Noto which are often felt physically more than they are heard (headphones are almost required). What I treasure most about these albums is they are unlike anything I've heard before but still manage to be interesting and enjoyable, proving that "experimental" doesn't have to be a euphemism for "unlistenable."

Vrioon by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto (50m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music

Insen by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto (40m) Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music (Live Performance)

Revep by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto (20m) Spotify / Apple Music

Utp_ by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto (70m) Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal

Summvs by Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto (60m) Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal

Have a really good day today.

♾️ ♾️ ♾️