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coverpic flag Germany - Full Moon 78 - 02/16/03

The Notwist
Neon Golden
Domino

You whisper under your breath, so that the other faces might not detect it, questioning to yourself, "Will the circle be unbroken?" Glance down at your shoes, wonder if they're prepared to take you there, your heart fortified and arriving on-time, for this journey that is imminent, if not foretold, not to come back soon. The CD is already playing in your head, and while you wish all the other commuters could hear its whispers, as well as its pizzicatos and plucks of guitar, cello, even banjo, the warm crackles of the analog and digital schizophrenia, you know that it must happen one at a time. Even once-stabilized sounds like trumpets and cellos become dubbed echoes and effects, filling whatever space they embody. Not even reading 1984 while gazing around for co-conspirators could have helped with this, the perfect melding of guitar-pop with the popping abstractions of outer-edge electronics.

There is this notion, becoming ever more realized at every passing tunnel light and beacon, that any motion being made is just like that of a single cell, a detached organism not only drifting in a larger one, but one with a purpose, working from within. Getting onto the rail lines into the city, on rhythm, on time, never a measure out of place, it seems so obvious that it could come together like this, even though it never has before. You even whisper, right on cue to the passenger next to you, that "Pilot" is as glorious as prime New Order, and what a brotherly feeling it really is, modern and sleek, conspiratorial, the heart still a palpable, palpitating presence within its well-dressed exterior. Every segment of the subway car is full of this opaque air, but with each beat there seems to be a space in which to maneuver, in which to see clearly. Alone yes, but never lonely, that word only exists as a concept in English. Markus Acher's English is awkward, but only in enunciation, never in transmission of ideas and emotional conveyance.

All of your actions are being infused by his musings, his manifestos, on endless repeat. Every turn in the labyrinthine cityscape reveals another of his maxims, whether it is to merely "pick up the phone and answer me at at last" as you attempt to dial from your cell phone in the wintry whips or else the solipsism that "no matter what we say, no matter what we think, we will never leave this room." Opening your eyes again out of subway sleep, the buzzing lights overhead illume everywhere the temporality of space that goes with you. You don't step through sliding doors as much as emerge through semi-permeable membranes, station to station. Inside, the passengers are like one organism, multi-eyed, ciliated, bundled for warmth, all in unpredictable motions and gestures, smiling, brooding, sleeping, awakening, trashing days in transit to the promised next.

Neon Golden is nothing if not infectious, a viral coding that goes through the walls of this room and stirs the memories of all who hear it. One roommate hears The Stone Roses, whisked back to her days in Roma (backwards for Amor). Another hears in each song the empathetic murmurs of her laptop, remembering how all she writes these days are emails, where you have to say the password twice to gain entry. How it all accumulates and communicates in this new state of synthesis. This is how it gets conveyed, mouth-to-mouth, when what seem to be walls to walls reveal themselves to be far more permeable than imagined, capable of correspondence as well as collapse.

In the invocations of the title track, over and over again with claw hammer banjo plucks, almost like propaganda: "Neon Golden, like all the lights," the city is transformed, projected into the inner-realms of the head, refracting light to where the dust of urban rubble has been slowly regrouping, the pure and the dirt commingling. At the next stop, a blind gentleman with an empty cup shakes the tambourine sympathetically with the music. He keeps balanced as the train rocks, nearly off the rails, at one with the massive motion beneath all our feet, as I sit still to watch the engines come and go. I feel the coins at my fingertips, their perfect circles, its movement and its spin as I drop it down into his cup. Smiling his thanks, he continues his sweet singing: "Leave me paralyzed, love. Leave me hypnotized, love." The train vibrates to a stop, the destination effectively reached by "Consequence." Thankfully in the States, we get three extra tracks of unobtrusive digital shimmering and percolations, the dub pillars plunged so deep into the subway's tunnels that it keeps this feeling intact long after the original album closes. The journey is without end though, as I have it programmed to repeat on the return trip, as will you.

Copyright © 2003 Andy Beta e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Notwist articles/reviews: Close To The Glass, Kong, Superheroes, Ghostvillains & Stuff, The Devil, You + Me, an interview with Markus Acher.

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