Behind the Alva Noto moniker we find Carsten Nicolai, one of the most important sound explorers of our time. A student of Architecture in his formative years Alva Noto a visual artist who has forged a minimal aesthetic and a conceptual approach to his art.
Sound is changed and evolved into time and space and transformed by tone oscillators and looping generators. Through these processes the essence of pure electricity is made audible. He works without sequencers, but mathematically edits his work to give his compositions precise rhythmic structures. Clicks and glitches are not used as ornamental additions to the compositions but make up the essential elements of the work.The sounds of electronic information transmission such as fax tones, modem sounds and telephone pops and clicks are sampled and organised into loops to which Nicolai adds longer electronic tones in the background and foreground as the piece progresses.
Nicolai has performed and created installations in many of the world's most prestigious spaces including The Guggenheim NYC, MOMA SF, MOMA Oxford, NTT Tokyo, and the Venice Biennale.
He released on labels like Mille Plateaux, SFMOMA and 12k/LINE.
As an owner and artist 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.