Lap-pop I!

13 & God – Perfect Speed (edit)

In the Mindless Diversions hip-hop symposium a while back, 13 & God came up. They were (are?) a collaboration between Oakland underground/experimental rappers Themselves and German band The Notwist.

The Notwist started out as a punk band, went through an American indie-rock-influenced (Dinosaur Jr. in particular) phase with occasional glitchy and jazzy bits, and wound up playing melancholy pop music with electronic textures. And occasional banjo.

It’s far better than that description makes it sound – the stunning “Consequence”, off 2003’s Neon Golden, is a thing of bruised, brittle beauty – a warm and still-beating bloody heart, encased in a rime of glittering ice.

Here’s a cover that somehow transcends jokiness – from accordion intro to blast beat breakdown, it demonstrates their propensity for assembling seeming-incongruities into a moody whole:

The Notwist – Johnny and Mary (Robert Palmer cover)

 

*****

 

It may be an unpopular opinion around here, but I’m going to come right out and say it: I don’t trust jellyfish. They are LITERALLY spineless, some of them sting, and it’s possible that at least one species may be vampires.

But I DO feel a pang of sympathy at the below jellyfish-out-of-water story.

It’s just doing its thing, trying to make it on this crazy ball of dirt just like everybody else:

The Notwist – One With The Freaks

Micha Acher from The Notwist is also in several other bands, like this one ferinstance:

Ms. John Soda – Go Check

His brother and Notwist bandmate, Markus Acher, gets around too, also playing in Lali Puna. Their “Faking the Books” is a beautifully-suggestive song – its measured minimalism forces the listener to fill in the story’s contours:

Lali Puna – Faking The Books

I just realized while writing this post that I have been singing the wrong words all this time – I thought it was “These things happen” instead of “This ain’t Heaven“.

Ah well, my version worked too.

We’ll do part II next week. See you then!

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11 thoughts on “Lap-pop I!

    • There’s been a lot of thought-provoking content on the site recently, people seem to be enjoying a burst of productivity (I am WAY behind, there are quite a few posts/comments I still want to read), it’s no surprise this one slipped on by.

      I got to see Notwist in 2003 in Germany and they were excellent. I’ve mentioned before that I think it’s pretty hard to satisfyingly mix rock and electronic/dance musics, but Notwist (and related bands) do, IMO.

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      • The place has been lively, lately. I admit, I was mostly wrong about what the new design would do to the sub-blogs that are no longer sub, but it does make what I think of as enjoyment posts like this one get lost a bit.

        I’ve never seen Notwist, and actually discovered them because of 13 & god, which I knew because of Themselves. They are definitely satisfying. I love that they sound like they may have learned English by listening to American rock songs.

        I think I may have linked it in comments before, but this is my favorite 13 & god song, and it perfectly captures the weirdness of Doseone. The slow build up, which lasts for almost 90 seconds, of the piano and a sound almost like sandpaper, leading to Doseone’s understatedly aggressive rapping… it’s just awesome.

        [Edit… I can do that now!]: Scheiße, forgot the song:

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  1. Listening to “One with the freaks” again. I think that may have to be one of my desert island songs (songs I’d have to have on a desert island). I dunno, it just gets me. Yes, I have been all messed up. Thank you for asking.

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