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Thomas Nöla et son Orchestre - So Long, Lale Andersen

Earlier this year Thomas Nöla released the soundtrack to his underground film The Doctor, a deeply sinister and surreal recording, which featured vocals and narration by Douglas P. of Death In June. So Long, Lale Andersen foregoes the paranoid tendencies found on The Doctor but it's nonetheless a surreal and spooky creation. Behind a stilted thrift store portrait of some pre-war garden party lurks Nöla's compositions borne from dusty antiquated stylings that evoke America's distant past. Nöla's dark vision leads this cut-price chamber orchestra, stretched to include electronics, industrial percussion and a ghost choir that hovers over a number of tracks. An eerie and haunting presence is felt throughout. 'Kinderbund' and 'Hi-hat Men' are piano- waltz pieces laced with Nöla's bitter, twisted mindset, electronic treatments and spartan industrial percussion. If it gives the impression of Nick Cave fronting a haunted chamber orchestra it's not surprising. The tinkering piano notes and warbling cello of 'Bicycle For Two' sound as though they're being channelled out-of-time from another time. Then there's the wartime dancehall stylings of 'Foxhole Foxtrot' where Nöla's voice passes over piano and carnivalesque percussion.

It's not all haunted dancehall, though. 'Henry Pelham' is pure eighties electro-pop where Nola drops in a passable Ian Curtis impression between theremin shrieks. Some tracks take on a more soundtrack based style involving isolated piano chords, electronic drone, industrial creakiness, rattling percussion and the ever present ghost choirs. He almost plays it straight on the title track, his muted voice, flanked by female harmonies and cello, singing "So Long, Lale Andersen" a reference to the German singer famed for her wartime force's favourite 'L'il Marleen' as is bustles with thick cello stabs and distorted blues guitar.

Beyond the work of David E. Williams there's little to compare this to but if Dustmuffin, Radioactive Prostitute, Miss Moonshine - some names featured in Nöla's orchestra - mean anything to you it may help to shed some light on this peculiar and fascinating release. However if you enjoyed his work on The Doctor, or find time for wartime songs from either camp seek out So Long, Lale Andersen. Thomas Nöla is releasing some truly unique material that demands wider exposure. An enhanced CD with lyrics, photos and a wonderful video for 'Kinderbund' featuring naughty and spiteful children. For more information go to