There were some good points in that post but it was boring. I am going to turn it into a list of factoids.
- The Beta Band were making formless sample-heavy rock music before Radiohead made Kid A
- The Postal Service is the band responsible for transforming my high school class into indie dorks
- The Notwist's music is way way more meaningful than that of these
Here's a video:
Instead of jumping into more wankery or technical whatever criticism let me share a memory. I remember discovering the track "Chemicals" on LaunchCast Radio, which eventually got bought by Yahoo and I'm not sure if anyone still uses it. I discovered great band after great band with their similar artist database. Wasn't perfect but was ahead of its time. All I really remember was being completely mesmerized by the vocals. I remember thinking to myself "I wonder what this song is all about?" I am not really a lyrics guy. I get these ... impressions of a song that have little to do with the lyrics. To this day I haven't looked up the lyrics to "Chemicals" but to me it is a song about how everything that really happens is just due to chemicals. Everything bad that ever happens to you, you don't have to worry about it. You can just chalk it up to chemicals and move on with your life. What I mean is that everything you do is really just impulses in your brain and you will always follow certain chemical laws in terms of what you think. This sounds depressing but if you only invoke it in the bad times, then it is liberating.
[This one's video is unofficial:]
I remember making my friend Evan listen to "Chemicals", and the way it starts with just glitchy drums and lo-fi accented vocals all singing about chemicals you know? And he said about ten seconds in "Walker this music is seriously weird". Then about ... ten seconds after than he said "Whoa! This is really good!". I feel like that exemplifies the kind of emotional dynamic that I most often associate with music from The Notwist. There are bands and musicians that are great at contrasting loud and soft or one instrument with another instrument or female with male or sustained with staccato or whatever whatever whatever. The Notwist aren't just contrasting notes, The Notwist contrast emotions. Their music contrasts happy and sad, they contrast chaos and order and they contrast liberty and slavery and control and the lack thereof. They are not just playing notes, they are playing ideas!
[I really wish this video didn't add the train sounds to the original:]
This is one of those things that I feel like is such a monumental achievement that I have no idea how I am the only one who seems to have picked up on it. Why isn't music with this kind of contrast more popular? It isn't a bunch of songs it is art! It's the kind of music I can get behind and say "this is what I like" and people will feel challenged by me.
I think it is not that big of a secret that people are afraid of music that makes them think. I think it is a bigger secret that people are afraid of music that makes them feel.
If I haven't sold you yet, then let me talk about technique. On one hand you can just say what I said earlier: they sound German. Take all of krautrock and modernize it and spin it around in the worldwide indiemobile and see what comes out, that's what they sound like to a certain extent. But that doesn't say anything of quality or restraint, and those are the areas where their technique really shines. They can take any timbre you want and turn it into whatever texture they want. There is something about their skill in crafting sounds into a certain shape that I don't really know of anyone else who comes close.
If I told you it was all about glitch beats and banjo samples you'd laugh at me, so I won't, but it is. I mean there is this level of audacity in there, I think. "We can sample banjo and you'll still like it" kind of audacity. Markus Acher's voice is nothing less than mesmerizing. Listening to their albums becomes like a trance when you take in all the lush details at once.
OK hopefully that is enough to spark your interest and cause you to go do some listening. Let me know if you have trouble acquiring their albums or anything and also let me know if you like them!