Seven years after Univrs, German artist Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto released a new solo album. UNIEQAV is out now via NOTON Records. It a new edition in the Uni series (a continuation and development of the concept Unitxt and Univrs album) which began when Alva Noto was booked to play live at the club UNIT in Tokyo, and had to adapt his sound accordingly for that environment.
Described by Carsten as “sonically representing an underwater dive”, the gleaming ‘UNIEQAV’ brings as usual an inherent artistic, conceptual and scientific depth. Mathematics, data, unit systems, grids, rhythms, codes, text, language, spoken word, DNA, science technology and nature are all utilised, for both inspiration and execution.
As with the last two Uni releases, the French sound poet Anne-James Chaton collaborates here, on ‘Uni Dna’. Where on previous records Chaton first provided a vocal track to which Nicolai composed, this time the duo flipped it; the poet wrote for an existing track, adding his unique vocal approach to recite amino acids that constitute the DNA molecule.
Regarding Carsten’s interest in 3D sound design and building sonic spaces, ‘UNIEQAV’ transports the listener to a modern, spacious and zen-like place for meditative movement. But conversely the album works equally well in a dark club – as for every glistening digital spark and simple, emotive melody – there’s a stealthy bassline, frenetic drum pattern and colossal low-end thump.