13 And God

    13 And God


    The term “experimental pop” seems like it should be reserved for the
    same universe where “jumbo shrimp,” “Microsoft Works” and
    “compassionate conservative” reside. The immediately accessible
    melodies and hooks required for a successful pop record are certainly
    at odds with the primary focus of an experiment: time-tested versus
    never-been-done. The members of 13 & God wear both labels on their
    sleeves, but — as their eponymous debut proves — the desire to push
    things forward and still create beautiful and accessible work is not


    A self-proclaimed “super group,” 13 & God is composed of
    the San Francisco-based hip-hop group Themselves, which includes Adam
    “Doseone” Drucker, Jeffrey “Jel” Logan and Dax Pierson, and the
    inevitably German glitch-pop pioneers the Notwist, made up of Markus
    and Micha Acher and Martin Gretschmann. The combination is everything
    you could hope for: dark, down-tempo hip-hop floating through fuzzy pop
    clouds that drift in and out of the album. As far as abrasiveness goes,
    you wouldn’t expect a Faust vs. Dalek level of intensity from these
    two, and you would be right. But the album’s beauty is astonishing.
    Using a basic formula — broken a couple times — of one Doseone (the
    rapper) song for every Markus Acher (the singer) song, the album is
    nevertheless enormously cohesive. Acher appears at just the right time,
    and Doseone’s nasally clip (I’m always surprised I don’t find him
    annoying) fits right in with the music.

    Despite this natural beauty, there is still a sense that they
    are willing to explore the outer limits of the musical template. The
    music is strange but immediately appealing, and the effortless tone of
    the vocals conveys a dark, contemplative moment. On “Soft Atlas,” the
    B-side of their pre-release single, the simple and gorgeous Men of Station,
    Doseone contemplates space and the universe: “Without a universal law
    there is no gravity/ Without gravity there is no atmosphere/ Without an
    atmosphere there’s no chance of life/ With no chance of life I don’t
    exist.” His voice is repeated in rounds until all you really hear are
    those last three words. The track, like so many on this nearly perfect
    record, becomes almost trance-inducing.

    Often it becomes clear that the experimental musician’s and the pop
    musician’s purpose is one and the same: create a piece of work that
    moves someone — physically or emotionally — and gives them something
    they couldn’t have before. Whether the musician is using basic concepts
    like melodies and beats or something more complex like odd
    time-signatures or strange production techniques, if the final product
    convinces someone to think or dance or do anything other than turn off
    the stereo (though that sometimes works, too), the goal has been met.
    The members of 13 & God have created a genuinely rewarding record
    that is better than the sum of its parts.

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    13 & God homepage

    “Men of Station” mp3


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