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The two Achers and Messerschmid formed the group in 1989 in Weilheim, near Munich. In 1990 they recorded their self-titled debut, a grunge-metal oriented LP. 1992 saw the release of Nook, which has an indie rock sound, while their 1995 album 12 contains their first flirtation with electronics. Martin Gretschmann joined the group in 1997. Shrink, released in 1998, is a jazz-electro-rock album which in some ways anticipates Radiohead's Amnesiac. The album Neon Golden (released in 2002) put them on the map for American listeners, with its heartfelt sentiment and catchy tunes.
The group has been remixed by Four Tet, Caribou, Console, Loopspool, and others. Singer Markus Acher collaborated with anticon. rapper/producer Alias on the song "Unseen Sights," an effort that shows a surprising musical breadth for both artists.
The Notwist recently formed a group with Themselves named 13 & God, whose eponymous debut was released in 2005. Markus Acher, in addition to his work with The Notwist and 13 & God, also works with the band Lali Puna, while Mecki Messerschmidt now also plays drums for the recently reformed Schweisser. Michael Acher composes and programs for Ms. John Soda.
The group has been working on the follow up to Neon Golden over the last two years, and the release details were revealed on March 5. The new album is entitled "The Devil, You + Me" and is slated for a May release in Europe and June in the USA.