ANBB: Mimikry

ANBB= Alva Noto and Blixa Bargeld. It's a collaboration that could actually make sense, though it rarely finds the right chemistry.

ANBB: Alva Noto and Blixa Bargeld


US Release: 2010-11-09
UK Release: 2010-10-04
Label: Raster-Norton

Though they immediately seem incongruent figureheads that are generationally disparate, Alva Noto’s Carsten Nicolai and Einsturzende Neubaten’s Blixa Bargeld are actually ideal collaborators. While Nicolai tends to mediate through computer screens and Bargeld is associated more with the tactile and the physical, they’re both experts at turning the kling klang of modernity, whether that be the collapsing of new buildings or short-circuiting networked hardware, into an audible aesthetic. Yet, the sheer size difference between the urban space and the digital byte is something that Nicolai and Bargeld fail to reconcile on Mimikry.

Their second release after the EP Ret Marut Handshake (four of five tracks of which appear here), Mimikry finds the duo rarely grating off into pure noise (there’s about three seconds at the end of “Wurst”), but instead lingers in ambient dread. Over this whirring and droning mess, Bargeld is as creepy as ever, perhaps because his grandfatherly voice now sounds like his next gig will be in the studio next door recording nursery rhymes. At times this can be great, and when he lets loose in a Gollum-like squeal on “Once Again”, we’re reminded of why Bargeld has aged quite gracefully since his formative work in the early 1980s. However, his bass voice against the thin glitches of Nicolai can often affix awkwardly, particularly since much of the record focuses on irregular time signatures and beat shapes. That’s why the best cuts tend to be those like the art-film soundtrack “Fall”, the ten minute opener which stretches a scream into eternity before making unexpected turns into spooky narrative and an odd exorcism of Dead Can Dance, and “Bernsteinzimmer (long version)”, a Miasmah Records-style glacial drone with a heartbeat and a tortured Bargeld slowly emerging from it.


Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.