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Carsten Nicolai

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Title: Carsten Nicolai  
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Subject: Sound installation, Cyclo, Ryoji Ikeda, William Basinski, Insen, Frank Bretschneider, Franz Pomassl, Raster-Noton, Innocence (Björk song), Sparkie Williams
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Carsten Nicolai

Carsten Nicolai
MUTEK 2004
Background information
Birth name Carsten Nicolai
Also known as Aleph-1, Alva Noto, Noto
Born 1965 (age 48–49)
Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany
Origin Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany and Berlin, Germany[1]
Genres Electronica, Glitch, Microsound
Instruments Synthesizer, keyboards, laptop, guitar, percussion
Labels Raster-Noton, Mille Plateaux, Line
Associated acts Noto, Cyclo, Opto, Signal (german band)

Carsten Nicolai is a sound artist. He uses the stage names Alva Noto, Noto and Aleph-1. He is a member of the music groups Diamond Version with Olaf Bender (Byetone), Signal with Frank Bretschneider and Olaf Bender, Cyclo with Ryoji Ikeda, and Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto with Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Nicolai was born in Chemnitz, Saxony, Germany (then Karl-Marx-Stadt, Saxony, East Germany) in 1965. He studied architecture and landscape design before pursuing art. In 1999 he founded Raster-Noton.[1]

Nicolai has recently written an opera, Sparkie: Cage and Beyond, in collaboration with Michael Nyman.[2]

Nicolai has performed and created installations in many of the world's most prestigious spaces including the Guggenheim, New York, the SF MoMA, Modern Art Oxford, NTT Tokyo, Tate Modern and Venice Biennale, Italy. As a member (and co-founder) of the Raster-Noton label he was responsible for the acclaimed CD series '20 to 2000' that went on to win the Golden Nica prize at Prix Ars Electronica, 2000.

Carsten Nicolai also works as a visual artist. Using the principles of Cymatics he often visualizes sound. In 2013, Nicolai participated as a visual artist in Noise, an official collateral show of the 55th Venice Biennale of Art, based on Joseph Nechvatal’s book Immersion Into Noise.[3]

Selected discography

Solo albums

  • Prototypes — 2000 (Mille Plateaux).
  • Transform — 2001 (Mille Plateaux) & re-released on Raster-Noton in 2008. 'Transall cycle' "approaches the problematics of speed, the vision of utopia and the dissolution of our ideas into fragments."
  • Xerrox Vol.1 — 2007 (Raster-Noton)
  • Aleph-1 — 2007 (as 'Aleph-1') (iDeal Recordings)
  • Unitxt — 2008 (Raster-Noton)
  • Xerrox Vol.2 — 2009 (Raster-Noton)
  • For 2 — 2010 (12k/line)
  • Univrs — 2011 (Raster-Noton)

Solo EPs

  • Transrapid — 2004 (Raster-Noton).
  • Transvision — 2005 (Raster-Noton).
  • Transspray — 2006 (Raster-Noton).

Solo compilations

  • For — June 2006 (Line, a division of 12k). A collection of unreleased tracks created over the previous 4 years.
  • For 2 — March 2010 (Line, a division of 12k). A collection of unreleased tracks created over the previous 7 years.

with Ryuichi Sakamoto

  • Vrioon — December 2002 (Raster-Noton)
  • Insen — March 2005 (Raster-Noton)
  • Revep — March 2006 (Raster-Noton)
  • Insen Live — October 2006 (Raster-Noton). DVD release. Contains fifteen tracks and video footage from the 'Insen' tour. Recordings for the DVD took place at Casa da Musica, Porto, Portugal, on June 11, 2006 and at Sonar festival 2006, Barcelona, Spain, on June 15, 2006 in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Also contains live tracks from the 2005 Insen album, as well as previously unreleased tracks such as 'Xerox' and 'Barco.'
  • utp_ — September 2008 (Raster-Noton)
  • Summvs — May 2011 (Raster-Noton)

with Ryoji Ikeda, as "Cyclo."

  • Cyclo. — 2001 (Raster-Noton)
  • — 2011 (Raster-Noton)

with Scanner (Robin Rimbaud)

with Blixa Bargeld, as "ANBB"

  • Ret Marut Handshake — 2010 (Raster-Noton)
  • Mimikry — 2010 (Raster-Noton)

with Opiate (Thomas Knak), as "Opto"

  • Opto Files — 2001 (Raster-Noton). Limited CD release. Number 6 in the raster.static series. CD Comes in a silver anti-static bag with green card insert.
  • Opto: 2nd — June 2004 (Hobby Industries). The CD Contains ten tracks, all titled with times of the day. The collaboration was created in a 48-hour period and was inspired by the restored recording from a cassette found in a forest in Eastern Germany.

with Zeitkratzer

  • Zeitkratzer & Carsten Nicolai: Electronics — 2008 (Zeitkratzer Records)

with Olaf Bender (Byetone), as "Diamond Version"

  • EP1 - 2012 (Mute)
  • EP2 - 2012 (Mute)
  • EP3 - 2013 (Mute)
  • EP4 - 2013 (Mute)
  • EP5 - 2013 (Mute)

Compilation appearances (exclusive/non-albums tracks)

  • "Monophaser 4" from "V.a. – :2" (2008)
  • "Garment" from "Sound Canvas | 1" (2008)
  • "Planet Rock" from "Recovery" (2008)
  • "Stalker" from "In Memoriam Andrey Tarkovsky" (2008)
  • "Haloid Xerrox Copy 3 (Paris)" from "Mind The Gap Volume 70" (2007)
  • "06.1 Quanta Random" from "Tribute to Iannis Xenakis" (2007)
  • "Sonolumi (For Camera Lucida)" from "Camera Lucida" (2007)
  • "Odradek (Music to Play in the Dark)" from "It Just Is In Memoriam Jhonn Balance" (2005)
  • "Re10" from "Landscape 2" (2005)
  • "Post-Remo" from "Richard Chartier + Various – Re'Post'Postfabricated" (2005)
  • "Party Plasibenpuis (for Rune Lindblad)" from "The Hidden City: Sound Portraits from Goteborg" (2004)
  • "Time...Dot (3)" from "An Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music / Third A-Chronology 1952-2004" (2004)
  • "m6re" from "SoundxVision 2004" (2004)
  • "Obi 2 Min." from "Frecuencies [Hz]" (2003)
  • "60 sec" from "Soundcultures" (2003)
  • "Strategies Against War 1.0—Covering All Information with White Noise" from "60 Sound Artists Protest the War" (2003) as Carsten Nicolai
  • "MM", "Time Dot" from "Raster-Noton. Archiv 1" (2003) as Noto
  • "Obi_2.3" from "Electrograph 02 – Athens Sound Media Festival 02" (2002)
  • "Menschmaschine" from "Klangmaschine_Soundmachine" (2002)
  • "Crystal R" from "Various – Live Sets At Ego 1998-2000" (2002) as Noto
  • "M 06 Short" from "Electric Ladyland Clickhop Version 1.0" (2001)
  • "Neue Stadt (Skizze 8)" from "Clicks & Cuts, Vol. 2" (2001)
  • "Modul 4", "Impulse" from "Raster-Noton.(O)acis Box" (2001) as Noto
  • "Neue Stadt Skizze 1" from "Between Two Points" (2001) as Noto
  • "Sound Mobile" from "Ringtones" (2001)
  • "Prototyp P" from "Raster-Noton. Oacis" (2000)
  • "Prototype n." from "Clicks & Cuts" (2000)
  • "Crystal s 10 60 sec." from "Computer Music Journal Sound Anthology, vol. 24" (2000) as Noto
  • "Crystal.s2" from "Microscopic Sound" (1999) as Noto
  • "∞ [Radio Teeth Edit]" from "Various – Because Tomorrow Comes #2" (1999) as Carsten Nicolai
  • "Polyfoto 1a-1" from "Modulation & Transformation 4" (1999) as Noto
  • "Zeit T3" from "Effe 1999" (1999)
  • "POL .Motor", ".Test", ".Versuch", ".Anordnung", ".Variation", ".Modell" from "Just About Now" (1998) as Carsten Nicolai
  • "Chemnitz" from "Decay" (1997) as Noto


  • Björk – Innocence (Alva Noto Unitxt Remodel 12" Remix)
  • Björk – Dark Matter (Alva Noto Remodel)
  • Byetone – Plastic Star (Alva Noto Remix)
  • Greie Gut Fraktion – Wir Bauen Eine Neue Stadt (Alva Noto Remodel)
  • Kangding Ray – Pruitt Igoe (Rise) (Alva Noto Remodel)
  • Ludovico Einaudi – Divenire (Alva Noto Remodel)
  • Machinefabriek – Stofstuk (Alva Noto Remix)
  • Modwheelmood – Things Will Change (Remodeled by Alva Noto)
  • Opiate – 100301 (Re-Model by Alva Noto)
  • Pomassl – Sol (Alva Noto Rmx)
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto – Insensatez (Re-model by Alva Noto)
  • Ryuichi Sakamoto – Undercooled (Alva Noto Remodel)
  • Sōtaisei Riron + Keiichirō Shibuya – Our Music (Remodel Light)[4]
  • Spyweirdos – Wiesbaden (Already Happened Tomorrow) (Schwarzer Bock Mix)

Installations, etc.


External links

  • Carsten Nicolai website
  • Alva Noto (aka Carsten Nicolai) website
  • Raster-Noton website
  • Discogs
  • EIGEN + ART Gallery: Carsten Nicolai
  • Saatchi Gallery: Carsten Nicolai
  • Carsten Nicolai on Artcyclopedia
  • KultureFlash interview (11/2005)
  • PingMag interview (05/2005)
  • Videoportrait of Carsten Nicolai by CastYourArt
  • Two and a Half Questions with Carsten Nicolai on Headphone Commute
  • [1]
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