Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto, real name Carsten Nicolai, have announced a new collaborative album, entitled Glass. A recording of a live improvisation inspired by Philip Johnson’s Glass House, the one-track release will land on 16 February via Noton.
Marking their first live collaboration since Sakamoto’s cancer diagnosis in 2014, the two artists were invited to perform in the idyllic space in celebration of the house’s 10th season of being open to the public and the 110th anniversary of Johnson’s birth. At the time, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama had created an installation named Dots Obsession – Alive, Seeking For Eternal Hope.
On the performance, Sakamoto recalled, “When I was offered to perform at The Glass House, the first idea that came to my mind was to use the house itself as a musical instrument.”
“It was completely musical and 100 percent improvised, as that’s what we usually do”, he added. “Looking at the beautiful landscape through the glass wall with Kusama’s dots was something, and it affected me, affected us, I should say, a lot. It’s a strange mixture of natural, nature, and artificial things, art.”
Curator and Collections Manager Irene Shum said, “Rehearsing only one day before, Sakamoto and Nicolai experimented with a keyboard, mixers, singing glass bowls, crotales, and the architecture of the building. Contact microphones were attached to the surface of The Glass House, and using various weighted gong mallets with rubber heads that were gently but firmly dragged along the surface of the glass, they transformed the walls into an instrument, creating wistful sounds of contemplation and longing.”
“Similarly, Nicolai played two sets of high and low octave crotales with a horse hair bow. The pair improvised in what could be described as an intuitive call and response manner.”
Since 2002, the duo have released five albums together, including 2005’s Insen and 2011’s Summvs.
View the new artwork and tracklist below.