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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
13 & God
13 & God
Anticon Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

May 12, 2005
The triumphant and tragic experiences of a joint tour are responsible for the formation of self-proclaimed "supergroup" 13 & God - a collaboration between the core members of German avant-rockers The Notwist and Anticon hip-hip group Themselves. Whether or not, as the press blurb would have us believe, it was the spontaneous combustion of a tour van or the mischievous behaviour of a small fox that prompted the alliance between the said bands remains uncertain. However, the transatlantic documentation of such events, which may or may not have happened, appears to have worked out very well indeed.

13 & God was written as a series of home recordings, gradually shaped as demos, sent and received either side of the Atlantic Ocean. As the songs were given character, a focused direction began to emerge and the three members of Themselves flew to Munich, where the album was recorded, a friendship was cemented and genres were fused.

From the onset, both bands' influences are served in equal portions. The Notwist's chilling neo-classical ambience lays the foundations for more rigid hip-hip composition, with Doseone, also of Clouddead, providing a free-rap focal point. "Low Heaven" sees the step-by-step construction of a somewhat melancholic mood, aided with strings, woodwind instruments and electronic samples that subtly build upon each other; before long, Doseone's nasal vocal style kicks in and 13 & God reaches a point of hip-hop/experimental pop equilibrium.

It wouldn't be inconceivable to describe 13 & God as the predictable outcome of a Notwist/Themselves collaboration, but, considering the degree of originality demonstrated, this is by no means a shortcoming. While the contributions from both camps are clearly defined, the cogs of avant garde ambient pop fit into the hip-hop grooves seamlessly.

The hip-hop influence is briefly sidelined during "Men of Station", whereby electronic beats play second fiddle to a meandering piano and a loosely flowing string section that neatly resolves itself. Normal play is resumed with "Ghostwork" and the simple and sombre "Perfect Speed", which sees Notwist drummer Martin Messerschmid enter the 13 & God circle.

More often than not, musical cross-pollination can sound awkward and unfitting. 13 & God may be the sum of its parts, but given the borders crossed - both musically and geographically - the recorded result represents something more.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright



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