Release Notes

Label: NOTON
Release: HYbr:ID III
Date: July 7th, 2024
Mastered By: Bo @ Calyx
Artwork By: Carsten Nicolai / Nibo

NOTON shop

What can I say about Carsten Nicolai that I have not said before? It feels that only just the other day, I revisited his catalogue and sang high praises for his album HYbr:ID II, which I then highlighted in my Best of 2023 list, Music For Synergizing The Synapse Of Ideas. You should check out that write-up, where I quickly go over his monumental contribution to electronic music. And here we are again, with an anticipated follow-up, the third entry in Alva Noto‘s series initiated in 2021. For this instalment, Nicolai explores the Noh.  “Drawing inspiration from Noh, a traditional Japanese musical drama dating back to the 14th century, the album reflects the genre’s distinctive rhythmic movements and its nuanced expression of emotions through subtle gestures.” Just as with the previous two volumes, the compositions on the album capture the music commissioned to a ballet score by an American choreographer, Richard Siegal – the first two came from Ectopia, and this third one is for the Ballet of (Dis)Obedience (check out a teaser here). And, just like the first two releases, it comes with a fantastic graphical score for each piece. I’m trying to follow this visualisation along with its sonic incarnation, and it’s like deciphering an alien script. This wonderful mystery adds a touch of fascination to the piece. And yet, the music is enthralling on its own…

The six-plus-minute opener is a resonant cluster of piercing oscillator drops that seem to fall through the dense reverberations like comets in the sky. In this single-chord drone, layers of synthesized acoustics seem to interweave their frequencies in a harmonic mesh that stretches elastically ad infinitum, the way the space-time continuum encapsulates all energy within. This is a beatless piece, unlike the further explorations on the album, but it’s a perfect introduction to Nicolai’s precision-rich compositions, which appear to be more engineered with a scalpel and which then seem to follow some organic rules and grow.

The HYbr:ID albums are conceived as worlds. My focus has been on crafting them to possess a sculptural quality. Each composition transitions into the next. I emphasize listening to the compositions in the intended sequence, allowing sounds and structures to reveal their full dimension.

— Carsten Nicolai

Once again, the full album is out on July 5th and will be available on two formats. We’ve got a compact disc with a special folding cover and a 12-page booklet, and a 1×12″ black vinyl with a 6-page booklet. I may just have to get one of each. And if you think that besides the music, the album art and the graphical scores are fascinating, wait till you watch the videos! My fauvorite is for the second track on the album, titled “HYbr:ID Sync Dark” which I’m embedding for your pleasure here below.