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Video Premiere: Alva Noto’s ‘Xerrox Canaux’ from Xerrox Vol. 4

Text by CLOT Magazine

Thirteen years after the first release of Alva Noto‘s Xerrox series, the minimal experimental artist is back with the fourth instalment (of the planned series of five), Xerrox Vol. 4. Today, we are happy to premiere the second single and video, Xerrox Canaux for which Noto has brought Simon Mayer filmmaking craft. 

Mayer is a regular collaborator of Alva Noto since the early 2000s. For this video, and similarly to the one produced for the first single, he’s used original footage from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft looking at Saturn (Cassini-Huygens space-research mission). 

Both the sound and image offer a melancholic and meditative journey of sinuous shapes (both sonic and visual), speaking to the broader themes of the album, which the artist envisioned as the soundtrack to an imaginary [probably SciFi] film. As he remarks: when I started recording the Xerrox pentalogy, I had in mind the theme of the “journey” and its metaphorical references; a journey of inner exploration. But it is also inspired by particular events such as the discovery of the interstellar object ʻOumuamua’, that roamed our solar system, leaving many questions unanswered and room for speculations and works like Homer’s Odyssey poem and Jules Verne’s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. 

Apart from the metaphysical journey, the Xerrox series revolves around manipulating data through endless reproduction and repetition, exploring how new sounds are created through copies. Something that at the time of the first volume William Basinski had also been investigating.

For Noto, due to the inherent fallacy of the procedure involving making copies made from other copies, every day’s sounds become so altered that they can hardly be associated with the source material.

As a result, entirely new sounds are created: copies of originals become originals themselves. For the fourth instalment, Nicolai departed from prior releases’ clinical conceptualism and orderliness, turning to a more harmony-driven and organic-feel composition technique knitting a sci-fi sound design through mists of melancholic ambient.

Vol. 4 revolves around a soundscape of warm chords, thrumming digital ambiences and the feeling of a smooth returning sound, like the ancient philosophical ideas of the eternal return and eternal flow that the Greeks developed by just looking at the stars and the Earthly ebbings.

(Media courtesy of the artist)
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