Alva Noto / Blixa Bargeld

Mimikry

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On their collaborative debut full-length, expanding on their initial Ret Marut Handshake EP, Einst├╝rzende Neubaten main man Blixa Bargeld and fellow German experimenter Alva Noto start things off with a series of harmonized wails that could be feedback and could be screams. The fact that it might be either or both seems perfectly apt, though, and with the ten-minute "Fall" setting the pace as Bargeld's half-sung, half-spoken part mixes with Noto's slow collage of tones, minimal melodies, and found-sound elements, Mimikry finds both artists in fervent creative health. Given that Bargeld's no stranger to either frenetic noise or near-subliminal arrangements in his main group, hearing Noto's computer-based work as the bed for his performance makes for a happy marriage (even if "Wust" sounds like a rather dramatic ending to an unhappy one at points). If anything, given the sources of much of the material performed, it's a very song-oriented release, in keeping with some of Bargeld's covers of standards over the years. This time around, carrying over from the debut EP, it's Harry Nilsson's "One," the lyrics about loneliness sounding all the more appropriate via his calm delivery while Noto's blend of distanced tones and static over the base rhythm at once honors the original arrangement and sends it to deep space. The adaptation of "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" is something else again, rivaling Tom Waits' murky version of "Heigh Ho" for subterranean unease. "Bernsteinzimmer [Long Version]," with its slow string arrangement and even slower rhythm, makes for a perfect bed for Bargeld's barely audible whispering for most of the track -- if they ever wanted to do a full soundtrack for a horror movie, they're already halfway there.

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