Ryoji Ikeda


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The collaboration between experimental electronica artists Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai started in 1999 with a joint performance in the New Forms series of concerts held in Leipzig, Germany. A first track appeared on the Raster-Noton compilation CD New Forms: Contemporary Electronic Music in the Context of Art. Cyclo followed a few months later. Sine waves, computer glitches, and misplaced signals come together to form interesting and surprisingly accessible glitch electronica pieces -- accessible when one considers both artists' previous efforts. Nicolai's propensity for rhythm takes the lead over Ikeda's more abstract sonic landscapes. Beat patterns arise from overlapping loops and slowly disintegrate, thanks to calculated miscalculations. The title Cyclo gives a good indication of the importance of loops in the duo's music, but one should not think these ten untitled tracks are the least static. Transformations are aplenty, surprise beat patterns lurk in the corners and demanding noises (high-pitched whines, subthreshold basses, polluting sounds) constantly challenge the listener. The last piece features only a soft ruffling noise and sounds exactly the same whether it is listened normally or while holding the "scan forward" button of the CD player. The CD is packaged in what could be described as a slot-loading box, without booklet.

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