Boomkat Product Review:
Having nicely set up the release of this album with their Ret Marut Handshake EP a few months back, Alva Noto and Blixa Bargeld (of Einsturzende Neubauten fame) deliver a set that exceeds all expectations. One of the most strikingly obvious comparisons to arise from that first batch of material was the Alan Vega/Pan Sonic collaboration, yet Mimikry goes much further than combining the established aesthetics of its constituent parts and creates something that actually feels very new. Carried over from the EP you'll find 'Ret Marut Handshake', 'I Wish I Was A Mole In The Ground', the Harry Nilsson cover 'One' and an extended version of 'Bernsteinzimmer', but it's the all-new material that tends to impress the most. Ten-minuter opener 'Fall' is a fairly challenging starting point, introducing the album with an artificially elongated wheeze/scream that develops into an almost unbearable cacophony that suddenly recedes to reveal hovering sub-frequencies, fractured electronics and heavily layered and manipulated vocal takes from Bargeld. The mutating soundscape proves to be both emotionally engaging and quite brilliantly complex, at times referencing the glitch vs. piano dynamics of Alva Noto's Ryuichi Sakamoto collaboration. After this tour de force of an opener the album starts to find a more solid rhythmic groove with 'Once Again', on which Bargeld sounds like Current 93's David Tibet encoded as a computer virus. Splendid stuff. Mimikry is also one of the more sonically liberated Alva Noto releases, finding Carsten Nicolai experimenting with more freely melodic content that embraces conventional notions of song in a far more wholehearted fashion than you might have expected. A piece such as 'Bernsteinzimmer' really underlines this, embracing a wonderful string arrangement that somehow doesn't feel out of place alongside the more uncompromising, surging electronics you'll hear elsewhere. Indeed, fans of Nicolai's remarkable beat constructions will be overjoyed to hear the furious, detailed arrangement of 'Berghain' (which seems to neatly incorporate some of Einsturzende Neubauten's familiar scrap metal percussion tactics), while the crunchy, distorted and finely filtered beats of the title track really hit the mark too, grinding out an imposing bassline to frame Bargeld's always captivating vocal. A brilliant meeting of two of Germany's most restlessly experimental artists, Mimikry comes heartily recommended.