Ryuichi Sakamoto is a Grammy-winning Japanese pop producer and composer. Alva Noto (known to many more in Europe as Carsten Nicolai) is a multimedia artist concerned with connections, circuitry and interactivity between different media (see his official website http://noton.raster-noton.de/ ). Creativity for Noto is inherently dialogical, and on Insen, he and Sakamoto continue the artistic dialogue they began with their first collaboration, Vrioon (2003).
Like the last album, Insen is a synthesis of the work of two different artists who are creating soundscapes to be manipulated and restructured by the other. But whereas Vrioon resulted in an ambient panorama, Insen culminates more in the form of fragmented sonic crystallizations. Insen, unlike Vrioon, was produced only with one layer of reinterpretation. While Vrioon was the result of several layers of reimagination and reinterpretation, handed back and forth between the two producers and gazed at by both at once, in Insen Sakamoto's piano sweeps and impression are handed over to Noto only once, who refinishes them by breaking them apart into ambient snapshots and what he calls "micro-loops" to create the final work. Vrioon reveals creative dialogue in its circularity; Insen simplifies it as two sides of a coin.
Asphodel once again offers up a sonic delicacy in Insen. Insen sounds especially nice in the morning when you first wake up, where the solemn piano wades through the parting fog of Noto's reconstruction.