This record, like a lot of the best records, is hard to categorize. A collaboration between German indie band 'The Notwist' and US alternative hip-hop artists 'Themselves', it veers between indie and hip-hop with a little electronica and noise thrown in for good measure. It's quite a challenging listen first time around if you're tastes are mainly mainstream, but it repays perseverance and has quietly grown to become one of my favourite records of the last few years.
I wasn't familiar with either artists previous work when I first heard this, but I can't say that I found that a barrier to enjoying the record. So, if you're considering a purchase, the full 5 stars and a thumbs up from here.
There is little more annoying than an artists latest work - especially a collaboration being compared like for like with their past sound as the previous reviewer has. Yes this is a little darker but there is beauty in that darkness and this is a great album that I keep coming back to for its depth of sound great tunes. Notwist and Themselves are combination that bring different strengths and sounds to the party but compliment each other perfectly.
13 and God is a seemingly unlikely collaboration between indietronic Munich crew The Notwist and avant-rappers Themselves of the Anticom label. However, if you are expecting to tune into the bittersweet glitch-pop of Notwist's 'Neon Golden' you will be severely dissappointed. If you are familiar with the dense, cerebral mutterings of Doseone et al, you will enjoy the often opaque, funereal moods of this record. Opener 'Low Heaven' is typical of the record: sombre horns and gloom-laden textures unwind over fragmented beats that crackle with vintage vinyl static; Doesone does his creepy nursery rhyme schitck about 'thanking your lucky stars' before a quick burst of frenetic rapping. It all seems to come together in ways it fails to on later tracks. 'Men of Station' is the most overtly Notwisty track, with Max Archer's trademark German-inflections counterbalancing nicely with a surging, locomotive rythmn. 'Ghostwork' is an example of the record's more impenetrable moments, which I feel at liberty to blame on Themselves and their affiliated acts (e.g.,clouddead). 'Perfect Speed' is another of Max Archer's star turns, but is darker than anything on 'Neon Golden', a malevolent creeper remniscent of recent Massive Attack. 'Afterclap' is a real curvebal which I can only describe as post-modern P-funk, and benefits from letting a little fresh air into the mix; while 'Soft Atlas' ponders what would happen if the 'world came off its axis' and is as close to perfect pop as experimental hip-hop/noise collagists can expect to get (think of Doesone's contribution to Boom Bip's 'Mannequin Hand Trapdoor I Reminder' or even some Soulsides / Lyrics Born stuff). After this it descends into more obfuscatory territory, with 'Tin Strong', 'If' and 'Superman on Ice' each clocking in at well over 5 minutes on average, much of it exceptionally gloomy with loose or plodding structures, and Closer 'Walk' is a sound collage dirge of the type that Anticon specialise. In summary then, it depends your level of tolerance to the music of Themselves, but there's not enough Notwist here for me.