TITLE: Death & Other Destinations ARTISTS: Nick Toczek & Thies Marsen LABEL: Not-A-Rioty RELEASE DATE: 15 January 2021
Completed in the early days of the pandemic, comes the January 2021 release, on blood-red vinyl, of the second album by Nick Toczek & Thies Marsen, ‘Death & Other Destinations’.
Nothing like as dark as its title or its wonderfully grim cover suggest, it’s a gloriously diverse verbal and musical mix of humour, incisive cool, word-play, tune-play and pure creativity. Here’s a pair of artists who thrive on the back of their ever-distant collaboration.
In 1987, the legendary compilation album, God Save Us From The USA, was released in support of The Nicaraguan Solidarity Campaign. The opening track on side one was a poem, Noo Yawk Chant / Sheer Funk by Nick Toczek.Around 2000, Bavarian multi-instrumentalist Thies Marsen, who’d bought the album as a teenager in the late 1980s, took the track and set it to music. Ten years later, by chance, he came across Nick’s email address and sent him this track. This began their strange working relationship. Without meeting or even speaking on the phone, they began an email collaboration which resulted in the 2012 3-track CD, The Bavariations EP. The following year, a German radio station commissioned Thies to do a documentary about their relationship. A first phone conversation was followed by their first and only face-to-face encounter, in Nick’s Bradford hometown when they recorded an hour-long session for InTOCZEKated, Nick’s weekly show for local radio, and some more material for the German documentary. Thereafter, their collaboration continued. In June 2019, their debut CD LP, The Bavariations Album, was released on Not-A-Rioty Records and copped for several enthusiastic write-ups, not least a four-star review in R’n’R Magazine and a 7/10 review in Vive Le Rock. A series of download-only singles followed which garnered many plays on local and regional radio stations worldwide. ‘Death & Other Destinations is a total delight, words running gloriously riot encouraged by a post-punk, prog-metallic soundtrack. Nick delivers... with rhetorical authority and relish. His poetry sounds conversational and freights intelligence... Thies Marsen’s accompaniments are appropriately intelligent and sensitive. It’s beautifully presented on vinyl, a darkly comedic celebration of the power of words.’ - four-star album review by Robb Johnson, RNR Magazine 85 (Jan/Feb 2021).