Out now: Naomi - Tweak (Mole Listening Pearls)
Hard disks can be hiding places for musical treasures – fragments or entire songs, forgotten sketches, melodic bytes left behind. Once in a while someone opens the treasure box and is richly rewarded. Berlin electro-pop duo NAOMI tend to record and arrange up to ten different versions of each one of their songs until everything feels right. Only the respective final takes ever see the light of day. For Tweak, Naomi collected some of their favourite alternative versions. But that’s just half of it. Tweak also contains seven entirely new songs – new as in never released, not in any version. Some were written only recently, others are songs which for some reason or other didn’t quite fit on their designated albums. Or so NAOMI felt at the time. The half-finished “Trust” lay sleeping on some battered hard disk for years. Now it turns out to be one of the best things they have ever recorded. “God Knows What God Knows”, with its angry preacherman fighting a choir of angels, dates back to even before their first album. The track seemed too dark to be included on Everyone Loves You but has kept haunting the duo ever since. The same goes for the optimistically melancholic ballad “The Party”, which fell off NAOMI’s last album, Aquarium. Other tracks are studio reworkings of live versions Lechler and Tobias liked especially well: ‘Singing about the fear of ageing in “Fade Out” just felt much better to a mean synth sound and beat, as opposed to those softly chiming guitars of the album version.’ Then there is the previously unreleased radio remix of “Go”. Sung by Selda Kaya and later used for an amnesty international campaign, the seven-minute-plus original is included on Everyone Loves You. A short pop version was commissioned but shelved when the record label ran into financial trouble. What’s typical is that listening back to most of these tracks instantly gave NAOMI ideas. Instead of relying on nostalgia they couldn’t resist trying out a few things. Beats were changed, new vocals recorded, and in some cases they ended up deconstructing the whole thing and turning it into something else and new entirely: “The idea had been to browse through the archives and throw some good stuff together. Instead, we soon found ourselves building new versions out of old versions.” They call it the TWEAK.