13 & God

13 & God

13 & God

13 & God

Anticon/Alien Transistor

Spawned from the too-close-for-comfort touring confines of two like-minded acts, 13 & God embodies the wintry aura of the Toronto landscape in which it was realized. A comforting communiqué between German twee-IDMers Notwist and left-of-center hip-hop revisionists Themselves (Anticon’s doseone, jel and dax pierson), 13 & God is as subdued as it is solid.

Trading sonic barbs from one track to the next, the opening “Low Heaven” transmits the angst-y, esoteric intellect of the Anticon lads over shuffling post-everything electronics, horns and melancholy organs. On “Men of Station,” it’s Notwist’s turn, sprinkling their patented understated harmonics, muted beats and baroque keys into a frazzled pop spectacle, glitches faithfully intact. The tradeoff continues like this throughout, but the pathos that surrounds this record thankfully never overwhelms. Themselves’ musings are ambiguous enough, veering from skittering freestyle to distant wails and isolated rambling, but Notwist’s inclusion adds a brilliant dimension to this hard-to-define opus.

“Perfect Speed” fills the room with half-distorted thuds and buzzing bass synths, reminiscent of DJ Shadow’s best work, while “Soft Atlas” employs a certain fragility to Themselves’ dubbed-out soapbox. The swirling sonic collage “Walk” closes the record, but fails to provide closure, trailing off in hopes of a sequel. Although 13 & God restates many genres in the process, from Bristol’s moody overtures to Prefuse-era laptop-hop, Anticon’s Rorschach Test poetics and Notwist’s multi-instrumental talents proves a novel union and a formidable force in experimental electronics.

Alien Transistor: www.alientransistor.de

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