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alva noto - Transform
To many the definitive Alva Noto album, and certainly one of the seminal works of the clicks 'n' cuts genre, Transform originally saw a release through Mille Plateaux in 2001 and now undergoes the reissue treatment via Raster Noton, it's spiritual home. Little could anyone have forseen the number of records (many by Carsten Nicolai himself) that would be inspired by this groundbreaking album, harnessing the purity and directness of its mandate and rifling through the various permutations of those simple sine tones. Because it's a sound that's still very much with us today, Transform really doesn't feel like it's aged - even if it does seem familiar. The opening pieces - or 'modules' - establish what sort of vocabulary we're dealing with: it's the most elemental of wave forms, usually tuned to the extremes of high or low frequencies and modulated with a sophisticated, machine-like precision. It might be thought of as an automated, frenzied reboot of the austere, impenetrable tones on a Sachiko M recording. Only by 'module 3' do we find ourselves in the grip of those familiar Alva Noto percussive frameworks, establishing a sense of rhythmic order to the gentle flickers that came before. It's often been cited that Transform was partly inspired by the American R&B circulating at the time, taking its percussive cues from Timbaland and other influential producers of the day. In retrospect, it's hard to make that link. Instead, this record sounds like a prototype for what was to come, but moreover, it's an album that despite the proliferation of its influence survives by its own terms all these years on. ESSENTIAL PURCHASE.