Published Jun 03, 2014Olaf Bender (a.k.a. Byetone) and Carsten Nicolai (a.k.a. Alva Noto) have been collaborating now for a decade-and-a-half, both curating and composing music on their label Raster-Noton. Surprisingly, the Diamond Version project is the first time the German artists have recorded together. Following a string of superb EPs released on Mute over the past two years, CI also marks the duo's debut album. Amongst revised versions of several tracks from EP2 and EP5, CI showcases several new tracks featuring some intriguing guests.
Grounded in the avant-glitch that Bender and Nicolai are known for, on CI the sub-bass and noise has been stripped away, leaving a cleaner, bigger sound that acts as a bridge back to the big beat of Chemical Brothers and also EBM. The duo clearly learned from their support slot touring with Depeche Mode, resulting in more conventional song structures and accessible production. An abbreviation of Corporate Identity, track titles on CI (e.g. "Access To Excellence" and "Raising The Bar") sound like slogans from the motivational posters featuring leaping dolphins that HR departments deem suitable as office art.
Aside from the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant singing an old gospel hymn that seems to have little connection with the rest of the album ("Were You There"), CI is a solid album that brings the Raster-Noton sound to a bigger platform, and may well succeed in bringing new listeners into that niche and underrated fold. (Mute)