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Alva Noto
A Forest
Catalogue Number
Release Date
April 8, 2020


The Cure’s ‘A Forest’ is one of those songs that you’ll be familiar with even if you’ve never knowingly put the record on. A masterpiece of Gothic rock, the track is one of the band’s early masterpieces and a cornerstone of their catalogue - indeed, ‘A Forest’ has been played in concert by Robert Smith et al more than a thousand times.

To mark the 40th anniversary of this release, veteran electronic composer Carsten Nicolai AKA Alva Noto has created a mesmerising cover version. In The Cure’s hands ‘A Forest’ was dark, urgent and poppy. However, on this cover from Alva Noto, The Cure’s original is inverted to stunning effect. Alva Noto does away with the beat and Smith’s singing, instead opting to float the track on a bed of cinematic electronic tones. As globules of bass map out ‘A Forest’s chord progression, Alva Noto drapes a hissing synthetic fog over the track in a manner that invokes, albeit in a rather more abstract way, the same Gothic atmospheres of The Cure’s original. Xylophone-aping keyboard tones then enter to sketch out Smith’s vocals and iconic lead-guitar lick.

Given the inherent tension of the original, one might expect Alva Noto to use the ten-plus minutes of ‘A Forest’ as space in which to swell the track to some great climax. However, he only gently pushes the piece here via the addition of some ever-so-slightly harsher synth pads and depth-charge bass hits. In opting for subtlety rather than grandeur, Alva Noto gives ‘A Forest’ a feeling not dissimilar to the collaborative records he has made with Ryuichi Sakamoto.

‘A Forest’ is an exquisite ambient cover of The Cure’s ‘A Forest’. Clocking in at more than ten minutes, we present you ‘A Forest’ on an exclusive single-sided 12”.

Digital Tracklist

Alva Noto

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Electronic and Electronica

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