In a curious turn of events, Vrioon is the third CD including Carsten Nicolai reviewed by this writer in just a few days besides the remarkable UTP_ (again with Sakamoto plus the Ensemble Modern) and For 2 (by Alva Noto alone) on Taylor Deupree’s 12k imprint. I’m happy to report that the response is, similarly to the other cases, affirmative. This is tastefully classy music — next to faultless, one would say — showing how a clear-cut computerized geometry interspersed with fragile piano chords works wonders when the partakers are at such a high level of responsive skill. People defining a record like this as “cold” are completely missing the point: you don’t watch a perfectly delineated, transparent architecture hoping to find traces of Jackson Pollock in it.
In a way, this can be described as a prototypical neo-minimalist album — especially when Sakamoto’s phrases get looped ad infinitum to concoct mesmerizing figurations and moods that elicit a feel of temperate gratification. Everything makes sense. Even the elementary rhythms, made attractive by Nicolai’s ability to trace shimmering pulse lines with sounds that could cause someone to exclaim “I can do better than that”; contrariwise, once scrupulously inspected, they reveal a rigorous revision of their exact placement and consistency in the mix. The gentle contrast — defining the whole opus — between acoustic reverberations and firmly deployed synthetic impulsions is seen as a rewarding necessity, the pushing of the “repeat” button on the player thus becoming an inevitable act. Through the windows left open by the sonic edifices of Vrioon the lights may be observed a bit tangentially, but they still glow.