Pencilling fine lines between the parallel worlds of independent hip-hop and the ice-cool continental underground, 13&God are a meeting of minds – on the left, the Notwist; the right,* themselves*. They are to hip-hop what Beck is to indie; to indie what Saul Williams is to hip-hop: an anomaly unsure of its place in a scheme so grand its sides are no longer tangible.
13&God is this sextet’s first full-length offering to the world, following a double-A-side single featuring ‘Soft Atlas’ and ‘Men Of Station’, both of which are included here. It’s an album of mixed moods and subtle shades, where incessantly glitchy beats stride alongside some of the most wonderfully downbeat trip-hop-style music you’ll hear this year. Of the aforementioned, ‘Soft Atlas’ stands out, doseone’s (Adam Drucker) mercury tongue wrapping itself around lyrical matter far removed from hip-hop cliché – suffice to say there are no gangbangers or wankstas here.
Elsewhere, ‘Ghostwork’ provides a juxtaposition of styles – the passive intro leading into pulsating beats ‘n’ pieces, whilst Drucker again offers what sound like stream-of-consciousness rhymes. ‘Tin Strong’ does likewise, albeit with less contrast. The Notwist’s presence is clearer on ‘Perfect Speed’ and ‘If’, but it’s the true collaborative efforts that shine brightest, the interplay between Notwist vocalist Markus Acher and Drucker like spiralling kites, their ropes twisting together into an irreversible tangle. A smattering of guest talents provide additional warmth to a record that threatened to be too cool for mass consumption on paper. In execution, 13&God is a surprisingly sombre album that’ll appeal to fans of forward-thinking hip-hop and beyond. Dim the lights, draw the curtains, enjoy…
8Mike Diver's Score