- Nathan Yoder
Album Preview - Olivier Alary & Johannes Malfatti - u,i
Oliver Alary and Johannes Malfatti's u,i spans the Atlantic. Alary, A Montreal-based artist and former Bjork collaborator, and Malfatti, a Berlin-based composer who has mixed and arranged music on Aphex Twin's Rephlex label, spent time sending VOIP (voice over internet protocol) files back-and forth to each other, intentionally reducing their bandwidth to accentuate distortions. These manipulated sounds, which were originally dug up on apps such as Skype, were then backed with full orchestral instrumentation to create alien, yet beautiful compositions. It is an approach unique to this time, and the music found on u,i breathes an air of distance, isolation, remembrance, and longing.
Like a post-classical AWVFTS album sent through a woozy BoC filter, Alary and Malfatti use strings, horns, electronics, and haunted vocals to create a tension which ebbs and flows through their layered collages. The album opens with Somewhere followed by I can't Even See Myself (a favorite track) which feel relatively light - an optimistic opening. However, after lead single, Drifting, things turn dark for a spell. Unsettling vocals bubble up in the middle of the album, conveying a sense of disorientation and spiraling. But eventually this eeriness burns off, as Elsewhere and Are You Awake? bring the listener back to level, albeit uneven, ground. The album feels cohesive and is sequenced perfectly, carrying the listener through different moods and engaging them fully.
u,i is out this Friday through Fat Cat and the post-classical 130701 label, so make sure to check it out. Below, you can hear the aforementioned lead single.