German composer Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) has long been an artist at the vanguard of electronic music and visual art. He's collaborated with the likes of Ryuichi Sakamoto (with whom he wrote the soundtrack to The Revenant), Michael Nyman, Blixa Bargeld, and Iggy Pop, as well as creating remixes for Bjork and John Cale. His solo work comprises some of the most sophisticated electronica of recent times, as evidenced in Xerrox – Vol. 4, the 2020 composition which he will be performing at Prague Sounds with Europe's best-known contemporary music orchestra, Ensemble Modern.
'[Ensemble Modern] are peerless contemporary specialists.'
Xerrox – Vol. 4 is the latest (and penultimate) entry in a a five-volume series that began in 2007, and has seen Alva Noto experiment with ideas of digital repetition of source material and the manipulation of audio fragments. This latest volume is perhaps more accessible than its predecessors, and comprises fourteen pieces that create an ambient harmonic flow of layered electronic sound textures, warm strings and delicate piano parts punctuated by deep bass. 'To me, the Xerrox series is a kind of journey,' says Nicolai, and this has never been more apparent than in this latest incarnation, in all its spellbinding, hypnotic beauty.
'The designs of these 14 pieces [Xerrox – Vol.4] are marvels in themselves...towering and mysterious...layers upon layers of confluent warm and cold.'
Loud and Quiet
In performance, Xerrox – Vol. 4 promises to be a multimedia feast for the senses, with electronica, acoustic instruments, and visual and light installations brought together to create an immersive audio-visual experience. As an artist who has both performed and created installations in spaces such as Tate Modern, New York's Guggenheim, and at the Venice Bienale, Alva Noto is sure to find inspiration in the spaces of Prague's functionalist Veletrzni Palace, home to the National Gallery's modern art collection and a fitting venue for this concert.
Alva Noto – soloist (electronics)
Dietmar Wiesner - flute, alto flute, bass flute
Ueli Wiget - piano
Hermann Kretzschmar - piano
David Haller - percussion
Rainer Römer - percussion
Vanessa Porter - percussion
Aline Khouri - harpe
Jagdish Mistry - violin
Giorgos Panagiotidis - violin
Megumi Kasakawa - viola
Eva Böcker - violoncello
Michael Maria Kasper - violoncello
Paul Cannon - double bass
Estimated duration of the concert: 90 minutes