The Raster-Noton duo's LP for Mute features vocals from Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys.
The LP is the culmination of five EPs the duo of Byetone (Olaf Bender) and Alva Noto (Carsten Nicolai) released on Mute over the past few years. (It's a relationship that can be traced back to the 2011 Short Circuit Festival in London, where Mute, Bender and Nicolai were all curating). CI, which stands for "Corporate Identity," comprises ten new tracks. It features one major collaboration: Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys sings on "Were You There?," which you can stream below. The duo's appreciation for UK synth-pop is well known: in 2013 they supported Depeche Mode on a European tour. Leslie Winer and Kyoka also appear as vocalists.
The duo say the project was inspired by impromptu live collaborations that would take place at shows after they'd both performed solo."It's always been very energetic, and we had good memories of doing that, so we said one day maybe we should do a project to capture that energy."
The album is billed as a riposte to an era of "hot blasts of marketing, from brand slogans to flashing adverts to insidious advertorial," with a few sloganeering track titles ("Science For A Better Life." "Raising The Bar," "Connecting People"). They say it also presents a different sound to the Diamond Version EPs. "If you think about how the first 12-inch sounds and now the album, there's a big difference. We are more song-oriented at the moment, and this was something that we weren't so interested in in the beginning. We wanted to involve messages and samples—vocals and lyrics."
Of the Tennant collaboration, they say: "We played a few friends that song and said 'I think you know the voice' and they couldn't connect it. When you hear the song you're looking in a totally different area, because it's so different from the classic Pet Shop Boys sound."
01. This Blank Action
02. Access To Excellence
03. Turn On Tomorrow
04. Feel The Freedom
05. Raising The Bar
06. Were You There
07. Operate At Your Optimum
08. Science For A Better Life
09. Connecting People
10. Make Believe
Mute will release CI on June 2nd, 2014.