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alva noto - For
Now I'm not going to be coy about this, we like Carsten Nicolai very much indeed here and with classic albums on his own Raster Noton label, a string of breathtaking collaborations with Japanese pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and unmatched solo albums on the seminal Mille Plateaux imprint, he's been a busy man over the last decade. 'For' brings together work Nicolai has put together over the last four years, and stylistically it's closer to the subtle digital minimalism of 'Prototypes' than his later R+B-flecked bass heavy jams. It is a welcome return though, 'Prototypes' was a magnificent showcase of restraint, and I for one have hoped Nicolai would go back to something this simple, this effective again. It doesn't stop here either, the record is, for Nicolai especially, incredibly varied and unpredictable - from glacial minimalism one minute to Rhodes-led prog territory or Coil influenced dark drones the next - the variety works wonders for Nicolai's sound and makes this one of his most gripping records to date. The record ends with a track dedicated to the great John Cage and returns to the deep bass and cut piano sounds that are now so synonymous with the Alva Noto name, a perfect way to end an essential addition to the catalogue of one of the great producers of modern electronic music.