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Diamond Version Announce Mute EPs
Rory Gibb , June 14th, 2012 11:25

The duo of Alva Noto and Byetone sign to Mute for the release of a series of five EPs across 2012

Last week, we ran a cryptic trailer for a new Mute-related project called Diamond Version, featuring a series of corporate slogans over thrashing static. Now we can reveal more information about it - Mute have teamed up with Germany's excellent Raster Noton label to release a series of five 12" EPs from Diamond Version, the duo of R-N label heads Alva Noto and Byetone. The EPs will be released throughout 2012, and will culminate with an album release in 2013. Watch a trailer for the first 12" below.

Alva Noto and Byetone - aka Carsten Nicolai and Olaf Bender - have been keystones for the Raster Noton approach throughout the label's existence, and their music tends to span the gap between sound art and dancefloor. Nicolai is a sound and visual artist, whose projects have included installations that focus on blurring the boundaries between the senses, and Bender makes all the artwork for Raster-Noton's distinctive visual aesthetic. Both's music tends to focus on drawing rhythm into austere, sculpted sound, making for tracks that are simultaneously danceable and intensely, monolithically heavy. Diamond Version as a collaboration was seeded in improvised shows together while on tour, and gradually transferred across into a recorded project. They've previously collaborated together, alongside fellow Raster Noton head Frank Brechschneider, as Signal - their 2007 album Robotron is worth seeking out post-haste - but this is the first time the two have gone it alone.

Their first EP consists of three tracks, 'Technology At The Speed Of Life', 'Empowering Change' and 'Empowering Change (Version)'. As the titles suggest, they're nabbed from corporate slogans, lending a humorous and vaguely subversive slant to proceedings - which both fits in nicely with Mute's history of challenging, thoughtful pop music, and sits against many of the duo's more functional titles in their solo material.

"We both are obsessed with company logos," says Nicolai. “We collected these slogans and started reading them, without knowing the companies. In this amount and concentration they become absurd."

All three tracks are pretty monstrous - there's a ravey intensity to them that's more reminiscent of Byetone's solo material, but they're rather more melodic, and their glistening surfaces quite nicely match their super-slick titles.

“Carsten and I share a strong interest in rhythmic music," says Bender of the collaboration, though is at pains to emphasise that it's not just a club-based project. "We also share an idea of general aesthetic, as in design, and prefer even in music, more and more roughness. With Diamond Version we will follow this rough rhythmic direction, we are not DJs and we’re less interested in delivering a functional music to a social situation. It’s a bit harsh, and a bit more noisy [than our solo projects], but this is not the main focus.”

The duo are also debuting the Diamond Version live show proper at Sonar this Sunday, 16th July, alongside Japanese artist Atsuhiro Ito. For a bit of a preview, watch this video of them doing a rather intense, Pan Sonic-ish workout at an improvised show in Tokyo a while back. Ito's the one brandishing the massive neon tube like a lightsabre.

diamond version (byetone + alva noto) + atsuhiro ito from studio cn on Vimeo.

Technology At The Speed Of Life/Empowering Change is released on 23rd July

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