The Notwist at Heaven
Often finding itself the sole German indie record on numerous “best ever album” lists, The Notwist’s sumptuously delicate 2002 LP Neon Golden is a masterpiece worthy of celebration. That is exactly what is received last night, being played in its entirety to a room packed with an exultant hipster crowd. Fittingly, the venue for the worship of this heavenly slice of pop perfection was legendary London nightspot, Heaven.
Last year, The Notwist released two records in quick succession, Close to the Glass and Messier Objects, to end a half-decade long hiatus. The band’s current tour, including a forthcoming stop at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, is offering UK fans the first opportunity to catch them live for many a year.
The band’s ethereal nature is in keeping with their sound, which is as varied and hard to pin down during their seminal work as it is throughout their catalogue. There is, however, an overarching mood dictated by the yearning weightlessness of Markus Acher’s voice, the sparkling jangle of his guitar and the electronica-infused dreamscape his band creates beside him, using instruments as varied as the synthesiser and the glockenspiel.
It’s Martin Gretschmann’s programming and synths which are most obviously responsible for the other-worldly wonder of Neon Golden, through the cerebral, futurist edge they lend to the most memorable tracks. Opener One Step Inside Doesn’t Mean You Understand bristles with spidery, scratching rhythms over a delicately plucked arpeggio melody, while This Room squelches and stomps in pulse-quickening fashion. To focus only on the electronics is to consider only one part of a mightily impressive live act, with their obvious sonic understanding of each other honed over a career spanning more than 25 years.
It’s this telekinetic tightness, coupled with their adherence to the original arrangement of Neon Golden that ensures the same delirious atmosphere under Heaven’s arched ceiling as the seminal work has had in countless bedrooms across the world. The crowd are held in rapture until long after the final joyful, hypnotic chord of album closer Consequence – a delight among delights – has rung out.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about The Notwist and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Consequence here: