Alexander Donat has built a sonic library of brooding darkwave and post-punk over the course of a few years now. Listening to his albums you’re brought into a chilling and urgent world that locks into territory fans of Bauhaus, early Cure, and Killing Joke find much to love in.
Donat is so good at making darkly-hued Gothic pop songs that you’d think for sure he lives in a castle hidden away in a German countryside surrounded by intimidating pines and overgrown thorny bushes. But that’s not the case. Alexander Donat uses Vlimmer as a sonic mask to don when writing songs. He also writes under the name Fir Cone Children when he want to brighten his musical landscape up.
On September 24th Donat will release his newest Vlimmer album titled Nebenkörper. The titled translated simply means “secondary body”. The album sees Vlimmer clearing some of those trees and bushes so that light can make its way to the project’s dark and brooding sound. Single “I.P.A” is a positive spin on the idea of change, though the sound is still brooding and menacing.
I think Alexander Donat can explain it better than I could, so here he is:
“Thinking about the subjects of “Nebenkörper” (German for “secondary body”), I guess there are three recurring themes: #1 – Uncertainty: Life in times of a pandemic, #2 – Closure: Leaving behind something in order to create something new. #3 – Aging: The role of a changing body and its mind. “I.P.A.” has a bit of all of these with maybe a slight focus on the third. There is an old German saying, “Hopfen und Malz verloren” (hops and malt [as ingredients of beer] are lost), which stands for a hopeless situation or a person who’s lost. I like beer, especially IPAs, and in the song’s chorus I recreate and alter the saying into “Hopfen und Malz gefunden” (hops and malt are found), giving it a positive connotation. In this very case it means that I feel confident leaving the traditional Vlimmer sound behind. I may risk losing listeners but pursuing my personal goal to evolve is an important artistic step I have to take. With almost 40 years of age, I have learned to trust my instincts, and even if I’m wrong, I’ll learn something. Nothing’s in vain. It’s probably one of the most positive Vlimmer songs I’ve written to date, yet it sounds rather gloomy. Also, this song might work well as a gateway for fans of the classic Vlimmer sound who are willing to evolve with me.”
Much like Donat, I love beer as well. The complexity of an IPA is one of my favorite things to enjoy on a cool fall evening. The bitter hops, the smooth malts, and citrus aromas all come together to give you a full-bodied experience. And with a higher ABV, you can get a woozy exhilaration. I get the same feeling listening to Vlimmer’s “I.P.A”; the complexity of balancing light and dark, the undercurrent of sweetness, and a woozy hypnotic after affect that give it all a slightly psychedelic touch.
New Vlimmer is always something to toast to. Listen to “I.P.A.” below, and grab Nebenkörper on September 24th via Blackjack Illuminist Records.