Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto present ‘TWO’, which captures the esteemed duo’s 2018 performance at Sydney Opera House. The concert saw the pair performing new improvised work and key collaborative compositions from their joint catalogue, which has now reached five albums, one major film score and an EP.
Last year the duo undertook a series of live events entitled ‘TWO’ at Berlin’s Funkhaus, Barcelona’s Theatre Grec (closing Sonar Festival’s 25th Anniversary), London’s Barbican Centre and Melbourne’s Hammer Hall, before culminating at Sydney Opera House, where their two hour set was recorded and edited down, forming this album.
“’TWO’’s pulsing, immersive live performance melded electronic and analogue instrumentation with striking visuals to create one of the most precise, beautiful and challengingly magnetic pieces we have ever had the privilege of staging. That Sakamoto and Noto are pleased enough with the recorded result to share its continuously unfolding, sinuous, questioning music with others is as singular an honour as it was for Sydney Opera House to host them." Ben Marshall – Head of Contemporary Music, Sydney Opera House
Sharing a deep simpatico synergy, Alva Noto’s abstract electronic formalism contrasts and compliments Sakamoto’s exquisitely elegant piano finesse, which incorporates an individualistic take on classical, contemporary, minimalism and even a touch of jazz.
At points melodic, atmospheric, gently rhythmic, textural and spatial, audio headspaces range from intimate and serene womb-like flotation, infinite fathoms of dark metaphysical expanse and moments of devastatingly poignant beauty. The sparing, subtle use of parts populating the mix belies a deceptively effective whole, which indicates two masters’ skill and confidence in being able to say something profound with an intentionally restricted sonic vocabulary.
At all times the album maintains a calm poise, and despite its improvised nature withholds an innate harmony and graceful order. Like two aural architects free-drawing, this is sound design for better living.