13 & GOD
"13 & God"
Indie-rock, glitch-techno and underground hip-hop all command tiny tracts of contemporary pop music, so combining the three should yield something a bit, well, bigger. That's not quite what happens on the self-titled debut of 13 & God, a collaboration between German band the Notwist (which provides the guitars, glitches and tunes) and California's Themselves (which brings the samples, scratches and lingo). Mostly sauntering and low-key, these 10 songs refuse to come on strong. But their blend of textures and techniques is consistently intriguing, and the stylistic pileup seems to have inspired both parties.
The Notwist and Themselves toured together last year, and both are veterans of numerous collaborations. The Notwist, which began as modal-guitar rockers, have settled into a style that's noisy yet hushed. This album includes some of the band's strongest latter-day compositions, notably "Men of Station" and the first half of "If," slo-mo reveries that show little obvious Themselves influence. Equally appealing, however, are such denser tracks as "Afterclap," on which the Californians move to the fore. The music produced by this enterprise is about as far as possible from such old rock-rap partnerships as Run-DMC and Aerosmith, but for those who don't require swagger, "13 & God" is a subdued, intricately layered pleasure.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Wednesday at the Black Cat with Boy in Static.