TR 434CD TR 434CD

"... Everything could have stayed the same, but you can rely on Levin Stadler to break with the norm. His Levin Goes Lightly project has earned a plethora of plaudits in recent times -- a cover of Iggy Pop's 'Nightclubbing' made it all the way to the master's headphones and straight onto the aforementioned's BBC radio show. Latterly, Trentemøller was curating a compilation (HFN 085CD/LP, 2018) and put in a request to include Levin's song '1989'. Levin Goes Lightly has thus transcended the barriers which usually stand between German pop music and a wider audience. Under normal circumstances, Nackt, the fourth album, might have been expected to continue along the same stylistic path, had Levin not felt the irresistible urge to step outside his comfort zone. In a live context, he has always worked with different musicians, Max Rieger (Die Nerven) among them. Since the last album GA PS, Levin Goes Lightly has developed from a solo project into a collaborative one. The songs on Nackt were crafted with the support of Thomas Zehnle (Wolf Mountains) and Paul Schwarz (Human Abfall). Shortly after the release of GA PS in 2017, this trio began taking regular trips to France, lodging in a remote country house to work on new ideas. Inspired by the strange rural setting, their songwriting sensibilities ventured into the unknown. The most obvious change saw Levin switch to exclusively German lyrics. He did not, however, follow their innate linguistic rhythm, instead choosing to play with ambiguities and irritations. In some places, the lyrics on Nackt echo flowery American metaphor, in others they lurch into the untempered brutality of early NDW (German New Wave) bands. On 'Stroboskop', Levin ultimately expresses his desire in a deep timbre reminiscent of Gabi Delgado (D.A.F.). Heavy vocals weigh down on a weirdly dreamy pop beat with subtle, deep bass. The music on Nackt still ploughs the melodious, psychedelic furrows of beautiful pop we have come to associate with Levin Goes Lightly. But urgent dissonances break through to the surface, engendered perhaps by the morbid depths of the crucible that is Stuttgart. Take the guitar sounds winding around 'Rote Lippen', reverberating with My Bloody Valentine-esque density. Or the hypnotic synthesizer on the title track, recalling Violator period Depeche Mode . . . Tangibility, concreteness slip through our grasp nevertheless: Levin Goes Lightly remains androgynous, a fascinating phenomenon betwixt the icy coolness of a Ziggy Stardust and the comforting intimacy of a time-honored crooner." --David Hutzel