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Performance: ‘Two’, Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto at the Barbican

Text by CLOT Magazine

Pioneering Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto and experimental electronic musician Alva Noto were together again to offer their new show called “Two” at the Barbican. The show at Barbican — along with the premiere in Funkhaus (Berlin) and the closing concert at Sónar Barcelona— was one of the very few concerts that both artists offered in Europe this 2018.

Ryuichi Sakamoto is one of the most relevant artists of the past four decades. Founding member of Yellow Magic Orchestra (with Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi), BAFTA award-winner for ‘Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence’ (1983), and Academy Award-winner for ‘The Last Emperor’ (1987).  Carsten Nicolai, aka Alva Noto, is one of the most relevant figures in the electronic music. Founder of NOTON, he is also a renowned visual artist and relevant sound researchers.

Both are living an excellent artistic moment. Sakamoto is having a massive success with his most recent album, async and, his documentary CODA and Alva Noto is touring with his last album and show called UNIEQAV. He performed UNIEQAV at the Barbican in March 2018.

The relationship between the two artists goes back a long way. Since 2002 they have released four albums together: Vrioon, Insen, Summvs, and more recently, Glass (all of them published on NOTON). Glass is a recording of a live improvised performance inspired by the emblematic Glass House designed by the American architect Philip Johnson in 1949. Also, in 2015 they composed the soundtrack of “The Revenant”, a film directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

The synergy between Sakamoto and Noto was reflected in the Barbican performance. It was a night of new material combined with improvisation, a dichotomous balance between Noto’s electronica sounds and Sakamoto’s piano melodies, two masters in the experimental field.

(Pictures courtesy of the Barbican)

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