Loves You

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Making an impact with your debut album is not an easy accomplishment. Nodern's self-titled CD may not have had a serious impact in terms of sales or revenues, but it delivers a musical proposition that stands out on first listen and establishes Nodern as a name to keep track of, at the very least. The man (is that him portrayed on the cover?) has drawn inspiration from several sources to deliver a variegated, provocative opus -- not provocative because it covers uncharted territory, but because it unabashedly blends elements of musique concrète, sound art, techno, and dance. The listener is carried from beat-heavy tunes to abstract textural landscapes, feverish noise collages, and glitchy pulses. The first half of the album is mostly dominated by tunes, including the hip-hop-esque "The Meat in the Street." A violent sound collage, the opening "Nodern Loves You" throws an impressive amount of information at the listener's ears in only a few seconds. In the second half, Nodern focuses more on moods and abstract soundsmithing, although he never loses sight of the more immediate side of his work. Tracks like "Not Down That Alley" and "Slave News" are very rich in sonic detail and wordless imagery. At any point in the album, you might be reminded of Pan Sonic, Thomas Köner, the German techno scene (although Nodern always has more warmth than that), or the cut-up antics of Otto Von Schirach (minus the scatological humor). Despite all of its audacities, this debut keeps the music accessible, grabbing the listener by the solar plexus and making him sweat before sitting him down to listen more closely.

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