Boomkat Product Review:
Following up last year's triumphant The Devil, You + Me album, The Notwist return to their soundtracking activities, once again collaborating with filmmaker Hans-Christian Schmid. These two parties previously worked together on 2003's Lichter, resulting in an EP length OST from The Notwist, and Sturm is characterised by a similarly intricate blend of modern classical composition and minimal electronic gestures. The band are joined by Alien Transistor labelmates Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra on the introductory piece 'Vilina Kosa Version', ushering in the album with ponderous intervals, microtonal string squeals and atmospherically charged two-note piano figures. After this suspenseful, brooding opener the album settles down into the deep, bell-like resonance of 'Jan', whose minor-key drones channel various instruments through a pattern of granular loops. Following on in a more rhythmically engaged fashion is 'Sarajevo 1', whose miniature jitter-beats combine with elongated tones spun from a small ensemble of woodwind and strings - there's even some bowed tuned percussion in the mix. These rather abstracted elements become more naturalistic and pronounced over the course of ensuing compositions like 'Prayer', 'Jonas' and 'The Hague', the latter of which takes on a panoramic, subtly dramatised tone thanks to its flooded, ambient orchestration and scrunched beat arrangements. The final piece, 'Sturm 2', is a particular highlight, launching into unfettered melodicism with only the mildest electronic smudging interfering with its lyrical strings-vs-piano constitution. Sturm's combination of electronic treatment with morose, impressionistic acoustic instrumentation makes for a potent soundtrack work and a worthy successor to their Lichter EP, still retaining plenty of that Notwist magic you hear so much of on the band's 'proper' albums. Including both vinyl and CD formats, this release also includes a 24-page book of film stills, giving you a glimpse at the project in its fuller context. Limited copies only - and a must-have item from this exceptional band.