Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - TWO Live at Sydney Opera House (N-046)

Electro pioneer and soundtrack composer unite to create Kosmische tinged performance

Released Nov 15th, 2019 via Boomkat / By Norman Miller
Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto - TWO Live at Sydney Opera House (N-046) Ryuichi Sakamoto came to prominence as both actor and composer for the 1983 film Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, while his work with Yellow Magic Orchestra influenced early electro and hip hop.

Though less well-known, German musician Carsten Nicolai – aka Alva Noto – has teamed with Ryoji Ikeda in the group Cyclo, written an opera with Michael Nyman, and holds down a job as an art professor in Dresden.

The duo teamed up in 2015 to work on the film score for The Revenant, but for this live collaboration they dive into a mix of drone and bleep that finds its groove neatly with the opener Inosc – a blend of ebbing and rising high-pitched electronics like a finger run around a glass rim, a distant drone and sweetly resonant glockenspiel-like sounds.

Trioon II blends drone with languid piano, Berlin is a thing of disjointed beauty riding on quickly alternating pulses and prepared piano, while Morning + Iano blends keyboard patterns, drones and a hypnotic thrum of pretty pulses.

Propho, meanwhile, breaks the mould by channelling the spirit of German 1970s electronic pioneers Tangerine Dream – think an out-take from an album like Phaedra.

With music like this, of course, there's always the risk of ideas that don't really grab hold - where electronic sounds sound just like electronic sounds rather than anything interesting. Which is the case here for a chunk of the second half of the performance here.

But things end magnificently with the beguiling head-bobbing hypnotic weave of Naono and a stirring performance of The Revenant theme – a sparse and eerie grand sweep mixed with jittery electronic washes. 3/5