THE NOTWIST have now grown
to four members. Joined has Martin Gretschmann, ‘Sound-o-naut’ (see CONSOLE).
The ease and maturity he displays in adding his unique distortion and bubbling
sounds to the already fragmented NOTIWST- concept is remarkable. On occasion,
his rumblings surround and envelop the delicate NOTWIST structures, but
never to the point of simply adding a contemporary “me-too” electronic-
movement feel. Quite the opposite, with the added help, nay despite, of
electronics, a new connection is forged to the almost forgotten past of
cool, smoky jazz environs. Maintained, nonetheless, is the core essence
of THE NOTWIST’s past. The effects are noticed allover. Slowly expanding,
“Shrink,” and NOTWIST-ism, combine the previously non-reconcilable, creating
a PopJazzElectronicRock unifier.
Witnessed was the creation
of a new paradigm, which, unless met with unrelenting endeavor, would surely
have led to utter pretension and failure. But here, music, not image, is
the order of the day. Thus the heightened sense of responsibility, pervasive
throughout the entire creative process. The result: “Shrink” is a defining
testament, a new yardstick.
The so inclined listener
might want to consider this quick history: THE NOTWIST somehow arrive late
out of the punk movement, never think themselves above pop music, decide
to overcome the confining riffs of metal, begin to fully embrace jazz,
and are now spellbound by their newfound experimentalism, and the creative
freedom that comes with it. With “Shrink” they’ve put it all together in
one package. And considering that all involved haven’t even reached the
age of 30 yet, it is quite surprising that they can invite a busload of
jazz musicians into their studio, without themselves looking old, too.
When, for example, the band
performs the instrumental track “N.L.” and they incorporate a little, playful
melody, just to be able to attach to that some brass-winds, as well as
precisely timed guitar riffs and electronic paint strokes, all the while
moving back and forth between pop and jazz, and mastering the entire act
with complete, unerring, competence, then that speaks of a reverend mastery,
and not pretension without talent.
Just as TALK TALK, to which
to which the band pays inspirational homage, so do THE NOTWIST possess
the will to create music which is singularly focused, finds solace in itself,
yet exudes supreme confidence without stumbling over itself.
THE NOTWIST had all the
time in the world to craft this release (its predecessor “12” already being
a half-century old). The product of such painstaking efforts is an album
which stands on its own, a testament to its own time (mainly because THE
NOTWIST could afford to trade the current zeitgeist for a little timelessness),
allowing the band to enter the realm of current critical media acclaim
and media darlings, all without having to worry about being overtaken in
a year’s time.