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november, 26th
Shrink - 7/10 points

For the majority of post-rockers, the very idea of disorder is likely to bring them out in a fit of hyperventilation and a nervous rash. Repercussions and resonances are the air they breathe, the oxygen of a rarefied future where children are bred in bottles and production lines shine in the new dawn. 
Meanwhile, The Notwist, signed to Stereolab's Duophonic label, engage in a bit of renegade doublethink, unable to fret about the perfect colour-coordinated revolution while their heart is in pieces and their face is a mess. For all the neatly bolted structures and robot jazz noisebursts, they're content to sift through their emotional lint, lovingly collecting the fluff on the needle, the fuzz behind the bed. They keep it personal, the Nico-chilled voice of Markus Acher cracking and melting over their rusting loops and beats, machinery pattering behind him, as his life grinds on.
If that sounds somewhere on the side of grim, the kind of humourless electronic algebra that makes Kraftwerk's robots look like ideal dinner guests, then The Notwist also understand the thrill of anticipation, the pleasure of the groove. There's the odd unwelcome 'Tubular Bells' moment, but like fellow German experimentalists Tarwater and Laub, they create delicate songs from the unruly creep of modern technology. The sumptuously morose 'Your Signs' could be Tortoise dressing up in Tindersticks' finest suits, Acher intoning, "You have me by the neck" like he's too drunk to care, while 'Chemicals' combines a flicker of house with a melody heart-rending enough to stamp with Robert Forster's name. 
 ven the jazz isn't an aridly precise exercise in syncopation but glammed-up red velvet swing that demands you open a speakeasy in your head. You want self-containment, buy some Tupperware. 'Shrink' is a beautiful mess, the future; imperfect.

Victoria Segal

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