The Notwist give a lot, but
they expect something in return. Their music, while being accessible, offers
the listener a challenge. That challenge is to cast aside preconceptions
and look beyond the surface. What does this blend of heavy baroque guitars,
electronic samples, brooding yet melodic ovals and bluegrass have to offer?
The Notwist provide a foray into something new by taking a cue form German
philosophy- namely, the dialectical process.
Thesis and antithesis collide,
and in the rubble, something new is formed. Everything has its antecedent,
but the challenge is to borrow from a vast body of work without stooping
to blatant appropriation. The worst and most unforgivable crime in contemporary
music is the creation of something derivative, unless of course it is fortified
with a strong sense of irony. The Notwist is anything but derivative. They
even strive to answer the as yet unanswerable: Is it possible to glean
anything remotely positive and useful from the annals of metal? The Notwist
take on this heady task and emerge unscathed.
Even at their most unbridled
and aggressive moments, the songs that make up 12 purvey a surprising level
Marcus Acher's hushed,
Nicoesque vocals provide a stark contrast to his angular, lurid guitar
playing. The vocals and guitar are layered over a lush, rhythmic foundation
provided by Michael Acher (bass) and Martin Messerschmidt (drums). The
use of the trombone, the banjo and electronic samples lend an interesting
facet to The Notwist's compelling music. Stark, metaphorical narratives
on songs such as "The String" and "The Incredible Change of Our Alien"
are balanced by the straightforward driving rock on "M" or the frenetic
and frenzied construction of "My Phrasebook".
The second CD which accompanies
12 is comprised of remixes and rare tracks. Both "The String" and "The
Incredible Change of Our Alien” were remixed for this EP by Critter (Ministry,
Filter, Jesus Lizard). "Johnny and Mary" is a Robert Palmer cover taken
from -an import only compilation of other such Palmer tributes. "Torture
Day (Loup)" and "Noah" were previously released on a limited edition European
version of 12. This particular version of "Torture Day" is a cover by sometimes
Smog vocalist and solo artist Cynthia Dall.