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Old 01-31-2011, 07:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Alva Noto - Transform (2001) [SAA Album Club discussion Thread]

Alva Noto - Transform (2001)



This album was the second choice from the SAA Album Club, recommended by Janszoon.
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Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Alva Noto—Transform (2001)
Alva Noto is one of several stage names for German musician and visual artist Carsten Nicolai. Wikipedia actually has a pretty good description of his music, so I'll defer to that: Nicolai transforms sound by looping oscillators and tone generators. He does not use sequencers, but edits his work to give his compositions rhythmic structures. Clicks and glitches are not used as ornamental additions to the compositions but make up the essential rhythmic and harmonic elements of the work. He frequently samples electronic information transmission sounds such as fax tones, modem sounds and telephone pops and clicks are sampled and organised.
So, how do you like it?
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Old 01-31-2011, 07:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm going to start with some hate. But before I do I want to say if someone totally ripped into one of my suggestions it might kind of hurt my feelings. So Janszoon, I appreciate the suggestion. It's nothing personal.

This album is completely dull, genre driven, uninspired, pretentious, directionless trash. This is a generic glitch record that doesn't go anywhere with it from start to finish. If this were metal, it would be like JUST the drums and basslines to the fifth Metallica record. On Wiki it says he performed at the Guggenheim and MoMA! What a crock! How lame and pretentious and unknowledgeable can these jerk-offs be?

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Old 01-31-2011, 07:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by OccultHawk View Post
I'm going to start with some hate. But before I do I want to say if someone totally ripped into one of my suggestions it might kind of hurt my feelings. So Janszoon, I appreciate the suggestion. It's nothing personal.

This album is completely dull, genre driven, uninspired, pretentious, directionless trash. This is a generic glitch record that doesn't go anywhere with it from start to finish. If this were metal, it would be like JUST the drums and basslines to the fifth Metallica record. On Wiki it says he performed at the Guggenheim and MoMA! What a crock! How lame and pretentious and unknowledgeable can these jerk-offs be?
Yeah, but what do you really think?

This is an album that took a couple listens to click with me so I can understand not immediately being blown away by it. It's a grower though, and in my opinion it's a very good album. I don't know what "genre driven" is supposed to mean but I actually find Alva Noto's style pretty unique so I don't think I can agree with you there or with the idea that it's "uninspired". Also I strongly disagree that the album is directionless, it builds in structure in an interesting way as it goes on. In fact that's one of the things I really like about it. Not sure why we're comparing this album to metal albums but if I were to do so I'd compare it to early Sunn 0))): minimalistic and immersive.

If you're the kind of person who gets worked up into a rage every time you listen to something that's associated with fine art or that you think is "pretentious", I'm honestly surprised that you'd even want to participate in these discussions. I seems like it would just get your blood pressure up every week.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I don't know, I kind of liked it. Disappointed a tad I had to crank up my volume to max even to hear it, though. Very unique, however. Reminds me a lot of experiments I used to do loading non-audio files into audacity as binary. The one thing I really like about this is the assumption that it uses no drum machine(and if it does, don't tell me, it'll break my heart) but produces those perfect beats simply with the strange tones. Something really enthralled me about how it'd break into a techno-beat every once in awhile but utilizing completely non-drum machine means.

Occulthawk complains a lot above about this being a sterile album. I feel that's almost like complaining a horror movie is too disturbing. The point of is to be very sterile, and mechanical. It's kind of the dry feeling of living in a technologically subdued society. The boldness in being that 100% anti-pop, and not giving the listener an easy ride, is what makes this album truly unique truly, as the label denotes, avant-garde.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
Yeah, but what do you really think?

This is an album that took a couple listens to click with me so I can understand not immediately being blown away by it. It's a grower though, and in my opinion it's a very good album. I don't know what "genre driven" is supposed to mean but I actually find Alva Noto's style pretty unique so I don't think I can agree with you there or with the idea that it's "uninspired". Also I strongly disagree that the album is directionless, it builds in structure in an interesting way as it goes on. In fact that's one of the things I really like about it. Not sure why we're comparing this album to metal albums but if I were to do so I'd compare it to early Sunn 0))): minimalistic and immersive.

If you're the kind of person who gets worked up into a rage every time you listen to something that's associated with fine art or that you think is "pretentious", I'm honestly surprised that you'd even want to participate in these discussions. I seems like it would just get your blood pressure up every week.
By 'genre driven' I mean in no way pioneering.

But Sunn 0))) makes my balls tingle, this doesn't.

I don't mind something being artsy and pretentious if the artist can back it up.
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Old 01-31-2011, 09:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Occulthawk complains a lot above about this being a sterile album. I feel that's almost like complaining a horror movie is too disturbing. The point of is to be very sterile, and mechanical. It's kind of the dry feeling of living in a technologically subdued society. The boldness in being that 100% anti-pop, and not giving the listener an easy ride, is what makes this album truly unique truly, as the label denotes, avant-garde.

That's a good point except I didn't think of it as 'sterile'. After I bring my blood pressure down a bit I'll give it another go with that angle in mind because I can see that as a positive attribute but one I didn't have the insight on my first full listen. Maybe you can hold my hand through it when I'm ready to try again?
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Skaligojurah View Post
I don't know, I kind of liked it. Disappointed a tad I had to crank up my volume to max even to hear it, though. Very unique, however. Reminds me a lot of experiments I used to do loading non-audio files into audacity as binary. The one thing I really like about this is the assumption that it uses no drum machine(and if it does, don't tell me, it'll break my heart) but produces those perfect beats simply with the strange tones. Something really enthralled me about how it'd break into a techno-beat every once in awhile but utilizing completely non-drum machine means.
From what I've read he doesn't use any kind of sequencers (including drum machines presumably). The sounds are sampled, partially from found electronic sources, but I think mostly from oscillators, then he stitches everything together piece by piece in a sound editing program.
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Old 01-31-2011, 11:10 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janszoon View Post
From what I've read he doesn't use any kind of sequencers (including drum machines presumably). The sounds are sampled, partially from found electronic sources, but I think mostly from oscillators, then he stitches everything together piece by piece in a sound editing program.
Yeesh, that has to take some level of dedication. Really comes off well, sounds very precise.
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Old 01-31-2011, 12:46 PM   #9 (permalink)
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A lot of times, when listening to albums of a particular style I'm not familiar with that is more or less "new to me", I'm concerned that I've missed the point upon first listen. With this album, if not just concerened that I've missed part of the intended effect, I'm slightly concerned that I've missed some of the nuances in the bass; my headphones did not seem very receptive to the album, unfortunately.

The first minute and a half was almost unlistenable, initially. I started the album, and then decided it was not the time to devote nearly an hour to the work in its entirety; I wasn't ready for it yet.

Finally, I opted for an empty house, a dark room, a set of headphones, and very intent listening. What I found surprised me. While the use of electronic sounds, painstakingly patched together to create the music itself, seemed initially completely cold, detached, and to steal a word from previous opinions on the album, "sterile", as the album progressed, it felt a lot less frigid than initially believed.

It doesn't seem so much created to evoke any strong emotion in the listener per say, but it is superb mood music. Not that the mood it seems to cause the listener to be overcome by is particularly happy or comfortable, but it is very effective at inducing a particularly uncomfortable, uneasy mood: Something's happening.

At times, it seems to project images of ravers, dancing, slack-jawed, and zombie eyed dancing amidst chrome machinery as far as the eye can see. (See Module 7) At others, it feels alarmingly like R2D2's wet dream. (See Module 3) Overall, however, it's a superb show of editing skill, supremely interesting, and something I definitely crave listening to again...with better headphones, of course.

Nice recommended album, Janszoon.
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:04 PM   #10 (permalink)
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When I first went to look up this album, I went to youtube. I listened to Module 7 and hated it. I thought it was idiotic and annoying. Then, when this album was elected to be the next to listen to, I reluctantly downloaded it to my MP3 player. After I began to listen to Module 3, I got to listen to it better. You can't really listen to this album without headphones or ear buds - it makes a huge difference. I was actually surprised to hear how layered, yet simplistic, it all sounded. I then began to listen to the other Modules, and actually found that itsounded a bit funk-driven and had a very modern-sounding beat. I have to say I love this album (and I am still surprised). I even find the "songs" a bit soothing, so I sometimes listen to them before I go to sleep. Module 3 is my favorite...

Last edited by TockTockTock; 01-31-2011 at 05:35 PM.
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