Boomkat Product Review:
A two hour Post-Apocalyptic Driving Music homage to Kraftwerk by genius synthesist Novo Line, in ode to Düsseldorf’s finest but also late ‘80s pulpy sci-fi soundtracks and cinematic rave scenes, massive recommendation if you're into Leyland Kirby, Laurie Spiegel, James Ferraro, 0PN, NYZ, Skanfrom, Depeche Mode...
Cult visionary synthesist Nat Fowler aka Novo Line enacts 2 hours of Post-Apocalyptic driving music in an extraordinary homage to Kraftwerk, late ‘80s/‘90s sci-fi, and cinematic rave. Spread over 3 tapes and accompanied by excerpts of an imagined graphic novel, it’s a real gesamtkunstwerk of pulpy, savant genius that highlights Novo Line among synth music’s most singular voices.
Outlining an absurdist story set 25 years in a future where oxygen is a commodity like oil, ‘Autobahn Zwei’ is a total and heavily functioning artwork ideal for the last few years of humanity’s guiltless consumption on the road. Over 12 tracks written between 2017-2019 and each averaging 10 minutes in length, Novo Line experiments with new midi-methologies to combine the sort of slow, electrifying EBM/new beat rhythms of his ‘Movements’ and ‘Dyads’ LPs with the cinematic scope of ‘To Qatsi And Die In LA’ (2019) in a riveting electronic saga that surely marks up as his magnum opus.
Across ‘Autobahn Zwei’ the sleek, futurist promise of Kraftwerk’s seminal 1974 ode to the road is craftily, anachronistically adapted to purpose with a riveting sense of narrative and a rolling, physical traction that Novo Line steers from the club into his own lane. Fine tuned with influence ranging from Maxploitation flicks to the fantasy art of Jean Giraud’s Moebius, the 1989 B-movie ‘How to Get Ahead In Advertising’ and that “rave” scene in Matrix, as well as his circle of pals in Berlin, Novo Line harnesses his era-consistent Atari computers and FM synths to motor forward with a thrilling, inexorable velcoity and masterfully expressive grasp of his machines’ tone.
Synching vintage circuitry into combustibly dirty, whirring, cranky designs that sound like Tesla’s haven’t caught-on in 2045, the album’s pulpy saga about a ruling corporatocracy BrazilCorp and its monopoly on artificial rainforest-produced oxygen is played out along a schism of real, imagined and synthesised worlds. From panoramic intro replete with viscerally smeared lense flare distortion, to the samples of the iconic *rump/H*llary debate from 2016 riddled into ’Never Going Back’ - where Trump’s tweets are voiced by synthetic birdcalls - and thru the adrenalised arps of ‘Rave Scene’ and the lip-bitingly dissonant tunings of ‘Sewers’, Novo Line surely induces the most inexplicable and oddest psycho-physiological reactions associated with probing new works of sci-fi genius.
With ‘Autobahn Zwei’ Novo Line draws a profound sense of originality from well-worn tropes with a style and effect that should be massively prized by any and all fans of proper electronic music. It’s a genuinely prism-pushing and seriously rewarding album for the journey.