Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto talks about his work and a new book called “grid index” in an interview on Gestalten TV. The grids he presents in his publication remind me partly of the Penrose tiling and particularly the islamic ornaments of 15th century buildings such as the Darb-i-Imam shrine in Iran that included mathematical processes which are fascinating to mathematicians and were unknown to western science only 40 years ago. It is easy to understand how Nicolai’s music is driven by such visual patterns contrary to the common opinion that we witness an acoustic turn in our culture over the last decades. I saw Alva Noto perform at Club Transmediale recently and found the combination of visual and acoustic elements enthralling. To the contrary his appearance together with Michael Nyman at Maerz Musik was desastrous, but that was due to Nyman’s obvious lack of inspiration who seemed to only be capable of recycling old ideas from the 70ies and repeated them over and over again with his extremely slobby piano playing. I felt sorry for Nicolai to be part of that performance.
Here is a video of his performance at Club Transmediale: