If you were asked to choose a record to capture the spirit of 2020, you might make a compelling case for u,i, a new album by composers Olivier Alary (Montreal) and Johannes Malfatti (Berlin). The collaboration is an emotive and yearning exploration of distance, recorded using VOIP (voice over internet protocol) technology. When Alary and Malfatti first started toying with the idea of u,i fifteen years ago, thinking about the possibilities of a network-based studio for collaborating over long distances, they couldn’t have known that one day their work would emerge into a world so deeply saturated by VOIP as is the present. Alary and Malfatti employ technologies that have become central to the texture of our lives—Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, and the like—as the subject and the enabling material of their music, thus calling attention to the aesthetic possibilities and conceptual richness of those technologies. The interruption of the glitch, the bright colour of tinny microphones, and the ambient fuzz of room tone are now so embedded in the soundscape of the everyday as to feel almost familiar. Across these ten postclassical compositions, however, their effect remains destabilizing: their effects colour the disembodied vocal sample that animates “Drifting” and haunt the ambient closer “Are You Awake?” Melancholic and yearning, u,i indexes the entanglements of sound, technology, and distance like few other records this year.