13 & God
Own Your Ghost
By Ben Allen
13 & God should have never happened.
The unlikely pairing of Bay Area’s post-rap duo Themselves and German electro-indie-poppers The Notwist would seem like an incredibly unusual match. Where Notwist vocalist Markus Acher employs an incredibly laid back, mellow approach, Themselves lead guy Doseone has a vocal delivery that falls somewhere between an auctioneer on speed or the Micro Machine Man.
On the group’s 2005 eponymous debut, they managed to fuse their distinct musical and vocal stylings into something accessible and fun. A common thread between the groups is their use of electronic instrumentation in their compositions and tracks like “Men of Station” combined the best of Jel’s beat making capabilities with Acher’s lovely, relaxed piano and voice.
Fast forward to 2011. Doseone is involved in approximately 3,798 projects and The Notwist is not known for being prolific, so the chance of a second album seemed a very remote possibility. Nonetheless, we find ourselves with Own Your Ghost.
The album opens strong with “Its Own Sun,” a gorgeously subtle acoustic
composition that finds Acher crooning in his soft, fragile voice. Then
out of nowhere “Death Major,” a hyperactive, skittish number begins,
sounding like it came from a completely different album.
Some tracks, like highlight “Old Age,” sound more collaborative.
“Armored Scarves” begins slow with Acher’s slow drawl eventually picking
up the pace until Dose appears, his pace slightly slower and perfectly
The two groups were able to meet twice on this project, and then record
remotely in their respective countries. Possibly due to the distance,
the album is occasionally cohesive, but more often sounds like a
showcase of the musical ability of the two groups involved.
Given the chance, 13 & God could highlight each other’s strengths
and create a timeless, genre-demolishing classic. Let’s hope they give
it a third try. – (7/10)