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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Raster
  • ASIN: B0009HBF5I
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,131,363 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Aurora
2. Morning
3. Logic Moon
4. Moon
5. Berlin
6. Iano
7. Avaol

Product Description

BBC Review

Alva Noto is the operating alias of Carsten Nicolai, who, together with Frank Bretschneider and Olaf Bender, form the musical triumvirate that is Raster Noton Archiv Für Ton Und Nichtton. The label releases a spectrum of electronica that ranges from abstract to ultra-minimal. The roots of much of its output, together with its frequently attractive packaging, might be traced as much to fine art movements like Minimalism and Suprematism as the musical futurism of Detroit techno or Kraftwerk's negotiation of the man/machine interface.

Insen is heir to Vrioon (2003), Alva Noto's collaboration with Japanese multi-instrumentalist Ryuichi Sakamoto. Both represent something of a departure from the ascetic bent of their peers. Both explore the potential for interaction and tension between electronic and acoustic instrumentation, the latter taking form in Sakamoto's piano. This relationship lies at the core of Insen and continues Vrioon's cool melancholia in subtler, even more streamlined fashion. If each part of the marriage were isolated into constituent parts, they might prove too clinical or precious, but together a delicate vibrancy is created. The air-borne reverberations of the acoustic piano combine, impact and dissolve with digital loops, prods and waverings.

On "Aurora" notes are sustained and released as if Sakamoto were bidding a final, unwilling farewell to each one. On "Morning" he prods rising arpeggios gently as if afraid they might shatter. At the same time, echoing electronic streams and trembling resonances complement the pianist's performance. Such is the sympathy of these elements that, moment by moment, the sense of a remarkably unified form is created. This is the initial impression at least. However, the association proves to be a mutable one. At times,­ as on "Logic Moon" - the piano becomes so enswathed in its own gossamer-thin feedback that it seems to disappear like a receding, fog-bound figure. Later, the piano's surging conviction is undercut by subtle percussive glitches which suggest a delicate but troubling dysfunction which prompts examination of the cd player to ensure the counter is passing in regular time. The resulting creative interplay makes for beautiful, rewarding music which only gradually reveals its subtleties. --Colin Buttimer

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By jimbo_not_the_first on 26 July 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is the 'follow-up' to 2002's "Vrioon" which also featured Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and Ryuichi Sakamoto.
The phrase "achingly beautiful" was invented for these albums. A shimmering oasis of stark, quiet minimalism, Sakamoto's quivering piano touches and the accompanying Nicolai's whispering heartbeat of clicks and pulses, will simply take your breath away. There is darkness, particularly in the track "Berlin" but also light.
This is music to lock all the doors and windows, close your eyes and immerse yourself in.
At once heartbreaking and astoundingly gorgeous, this (along with it's counterpart Vrioon) are albums not to be missed by anyone who wishes to be taken to a whole new space by sound.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Hauntingly beautiful 23 July 2008
By Steward Willons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm always skeptical when I see an acoustic/electronic collaboration because I tend to think the acoustic instrument sounds so old-fashioned compared to the sonic wizardry of electronic composers. Some composers really do it right. Stockhausen, Cage, and many others have given us some amazing electro-acoustic work over the years, but I've heard just as many works that feel like, say, marimba with a techno beat in the background. That is not the case here. Somehow Sakamoto and Noto managed to create an absolutely amazing balance, to the point that the listeners completely forgets that he or she is listening to two very different instruments.

Sakamoto's mournful piano work gently floats over the top of Noto's abstract electronic sounds making their strangeness accessible enough for almost any listener. I wouldn't normally recommend an Alva Noto CD to most people - his style is so difficult that many are just going to be turned off. Again, that's not the case here. The harmonic and melodic content of the piano, sparse as it may be, makes the experimentalism palatable enough for anyone.

Noto and Sakamoto have worked together previously on "Vrioon" and later on "Revep", but I'm not sure I could pick a favorite album. They are certainly different, and I suppose the majority of the decision will hinge on what you happen to like. "Vrioon" seems to feature less piano and more electronics. "Insen" has more-or-less constant piano, whereas there are long stretches of electronic foundation in "Vrioon" with only momentary punctuation from the piano. I don't own "Revep", so I won't rely on my memory and risk a faulty assessment. I will, however, assure you that it's equally lovely and quite worth your time.

I can't find a fault with this album. It's deep and thought-provoking, with plenty of detail to discover over multiple listenings, but at the same time, it's strikingly beautiful and haunting. It practically forces the listener to become lost inside its enveloping textures.

I highly highly recommend this disc to fans of non-dance electronic music, or to new music aficionados in general. This is an album you'll return to again and again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Fantastic album, even from Sakamoto 5 April 2009
By R. Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you want ambient chillout msuic, this album can provide that for you and will do it in a much more interesting way than 99% of "ambient" albums. If you want IDM & glitch, this album will also more than satisfy your needs.

What really makes this CD shine for me is the huge contrast between the exceptionally robotic, glitchy, inorganic sounds of Noto and the organic piano playing of Sakamoto. Anyone could bring live instrumental music together with machine music. Only someone with an incredible amount of skill can make the two fuse into such a perfect marriage while at the same time, emphasizing the wide gulf between the two types of sound.
Five Stars 27 Aug. 2014
By C. Fahey - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Amazing music from 2 pioneers.
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