fri 14/08/2020

CD: Autarkic – I Love You, Go Away | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Autarkic – I Love You, Go Away

CD: Autarkic – I Love You, Go Away

Tel Aviv producer Nadav Spiegel's latest collection is a triumph of head and heart

Tel Aviv producer Nadav Spiegel hadn't set out to make a full-length follow-up to last year's Can You Pass the Knife? mini-LP, but once he had a backbone of songs, events sort of got away from him. I Love You, Go Away is the result and its nine songs, spread over nearly 40 minutes, appear, in one way or another, to deal with loss – of love, identity and self.

The title of opener “New Heimat”, referencing the German word for the feeling of belonging to a place, suggests a new beginning of sorts. While the lines “Home is where the hatred is” and “No more fighting for the state/No more bleeding for some faith”, repeated over electronic percussion and a background of distorted guitar drones, offer an overtly political and grand worldview, follow-up “Violence” begins, and immediately we are pulled into much more personal territory. A deliberation on envy and the darker side of love and loss, it addresses self-esteem as much as its predecessor does self-concept. It’s a neatly conceived conceit and the lyric “I don’t know what you mean when you say it’s not about that” captures, with both wit and wisdom, the futility and circularity of self-referential relationship arguments. That it does so to a punk-funk/disco-not-disco soundtrack is all to the good.

“How to Cheat” is a tune that Underworld would be proud of: a repeated musical refrain over which vocal snippets paint a picture of an emotionally punch-drunk husk trying to find the strength to fight back. “Gibberish Love Song”, meanwhile, continues a recent and welcome resurgence of truly progressive house, the track’s distortion sounding like the result of Spiegel turning the emotional gain to full.

While the vocals are often laser-guided to an emotional centre, occasionally they seem a close cousin of former Can frontman Damo Suzuki's, chosen as much for their punctuating power and ryhthmic heft as their actual meaning.

This is mostly, though not exclusively, the case on the album’s B-side – a more intense beast and shot through with bold experimentation. At times it boasts Radiophonic Workshop levels of abstraction, exploring its terrain with a keen playfulness, while sharing the emotional depth of contemporary peers such as Man Power, particularly on the stunning instrumental “Let the Water Run”. Closing pairing “Bongos and Tambourines” and “Warmth (How Mean Is Mean)” are simply breathtaking, colouring sparse, kosmiche tones with dense, earthy colours to create a palette that is truly Spiegel’s own. 

Currently available on vinyl only, I Love You, Go Away, isn’t just a fine electronic album, it feels like a genuinely important piece of work from a producer who blends head and heart with rare warmth and intelligence. A clear contender for album of the year – once again.       

Overleaf: Listen to Autarkic's "I Love You, Go Away"

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